Monday, March 29, 2010

My First Grade Teacher

My first grade teacher, and I say this with all due respect, was rather insane. She was a widowed Lutheran woman who was so incredibly old when I was 5 years old that I feel reasonably certain there's no way she could still be alive...browsing through Blogger. Thus I'm pretty sure she won't be reading my posting.

But I'm still not going to tell you what her name was. Because she was that freakin' scary and you never know...she could still be around.

I attended a private school for first grade because I was too young for the public ones and I was begging my mom to let me go to school. (Can you say "miniature nerd?") So....each morning began with a significant amount of Bible reading as she stood at the front of the classroom. I distinctly remember that she liked the classic Proverb about how the rod of discipline will drive badness from kids. Good times.

Oh - and she's the only teacher who ever inflicted corporal (corporeal??) punishment on me. My c's were too sloppy so she slapped my hands with a ruler in front of the class. I kid you not. Crazy woman. 

When she wasn't hitting kids at the front of the class or reading monotonously from the Bible, she was talking about war. And I mean she talked about it ALL THE TIME. (No telling how many she'd lived through.) She talked about how when the war started, we would all run to the ocean to escape. (So I always felt much safer when I visited my grandparents in Corpus Christi.) Needless to say, I became obsessively frightened of war, violence, and barns - since apparently the bad invading people had a tendency to force innocent victims into barns. Don't ask me....she seemed quite certain of that fact.

The point of this posting, however, is actually to give Mrs. M credit for being right about something. During one of her many war/Bible tirades, she pointed out that the reason it was important to memorize scripture was that when the bad people came and took away our Bibles, we'd still be comforted by the Bible verses we'd memorized. I know that sounds just a bit Glen Beck-ish or maybe even Pat Robertson-ish....and I also don't think anyone is out to steal my New American Standard. However....she was right that if we let ourselves remember spiritual things during our most trying times...that can be the best gift in the world.

Sunday evening we went to a family service at our church and the speaker talked about how all of our spirits are in alignment with God - that we have access to all of God's wisdom and strength if we choose to access it. Today was most assuredly a day from Hell, but when I reminded myself of those statements I felt about a million times stronger and more confident. I just said the words over and over to myself. Once I believed it, it became true. And I rocked. I fought back. I walked out with my head held high.

I still wish she'd kept that evil ruler to herself and left my poor little hands alone, but she had a point about the power of remembering holy words when push came to shove.

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