Tag Archives: parents

FETTERS

This time of year always makes me smile – A LOT.

Just before Memorial Day, the fetters would fall away as I ran down the steps – grade card in hand.
Freedom.
Dog and cat days.
Bicycle and adventure days.
Endless days of reading book after book from a library that seemed endless.
Play days with friends in the neighborhood and cousins across town.
Hot days before air conditioning and whirling fans.
Singing days with my heart sister.
Wading days at Riverside Park.
Hammock days – covered and screened-in Marine treasure – waiting for the storm or the softness of evening.
Days and days of “No more teacher’s dirty looks”

Who knew I would be a teacher with a dirty look as autobiography deadlines were missed?

The idea of living my adult life connected to the school calendar definitely appealed to my inner child. Even now, as I watch the Grands in MI graduate from high school and finish the final essays in this part of their lives or the tiny NC Grands count down these last days in Montessori, I still feel that smile bubbling up inside me as well. It helps off set some of the bittersweet things that I know come with the beginning of June.

“Surely, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”~IS 12:2

My last HMS class of 8th graders have posed for their final pictures at the high school. The last set of autobiographies have been stored on a shelf once again, and my connecting tethers to education are loosening even more. I have a feeling I will miss those tethers.

A few months back, I ran across a prayer. It was a simple prayer. A powerful prayer that caught my pen and found its way to the back of one of my note cards. Yesterday, as I was hanging some of those cards in my prayer closet, it caught my attention and the Spirit nudged hard..

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”~Robert Pierce,

Jewish sages teach that according to scripture there are two kinds of people that don’t mind being out-done by those they have been blessed to nourish – – – parents and teachers. When a parent watches their child stand successfully on their own or even build a life beyond the parent – the parent rejoices. In the same manner, a teacher who loves their student – smiles beyond measure when that student takes that knowledge and wisdom to soars beyond the classroom – – even when they soar even higher than the teacher.

My mom was like that. She rejoiced when I signed my first teaching contract. It was the first time, I remember being humbled by all her sacrifices. She cried over the phone as I told her how much I would be making because it was more money than she ever made in her life. I remember being dumbfounded – getting off the pay phone in the rooming house I managed,- and sniffling my tears into my Boo-dog’s fur. Don’t get me wrong, my heart was not really humbled yet – but in that moment – I understood the brokeness of God’s heart the first time. It is what I remembered as I prayed this prayer today.

June still makes me smile – just not in the same way. 2017 brings a mingling of those bittersweet memories and covering them in gold. Yesterday – a graduating class and graduating Grands. Autobiographies re-stored on a shelf. Tomorrow – a mother who danced into heaven 12 years as I held her close and whispered a song. The day after tomorrow – a 66th birthday to celebrate for this elder.

Different fetters falling away.
Tethers loosening.
Smiles to share.
Gotta love the freedom of the first week of June – no matter what year.

 

Commandment Series-Respect for Parents and Teachers

10-commandments

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:1-5

I love the word picture that John paints in these verses.  I haven’t read Revelations for a while.  Truthfully? I’ve been avoiding it.  When I was in high school and college I was fascinated by Revelations and read it often.  I thought if I read the words often enough, I would eventually glean the wisdom it contained. But so many of the pictures that John was trying to describe in this book was beyond my imagination and knowledge at that point.  Needless to say over the course of the last 45 years, I’ve returned to it periodically.  Occasionally grasping a thought or image only to feel that most of the wisdom in this book was still beyond my ken.  However, lately…even now as the sun’s rays are finally slicing through the clouds that have covered our area for the past 3 days to warm my typing fingers…hints that it is time to return to a more in-depth study of this book.

I wish there was a Jewish Talmud written about the New Testament.  A rabbi who looked at Our Lord’s and His disciples’ words in much the same way as they ancient-rabbi-teachingspoke them.  That is one thing that I truly love about the Jewish religion.  The sages have never stopped debating – concentrating on the very basics of the written Hebrew language, each jot and tittle, as well as the overall context and content of the Torah – seeking to take new understanding from the WORD and Our Father who spoke through them.  In our society, I believe most of us tend to think that if we have read our devotions and forced ourselves to find time to read a few new chapters in the Bible, we’ve done enough our filial duty.  Can we ever understand anything about God in just a few minutes out of our “busy” day?

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Ex 20:12

In Jewish tradition, teachers are included in the fifth commandment.  Since most societal groups look at parents as the first teachers of a child, this inclusion teachermakes a lot of sense.  The extension of respecting teachers follows logically. Yet – as more and more parents are working full time (or several part time) jobs – teaching children has become a communal project.  Teachers, yes – babysitters are teachers – are entering the child’s sphere of existence at earlier and earlier stages of life.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, children are being taught by whoever is around them. Teachers are found in all shapes and sizes.  Yesterday, at our after school program, a young 13 year old was explaining the facts of life to some of our  much younger students.  I’m not sure some of  our first grade parents were ready to have that conversation last night around their supper table.  Hmmm….that is….if they sit around the table to eat supper and actually talk to each other.  sigh.

“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB

Is it any wonder that I kids argue with their parents and teachers?  They have had many teachers.  They see their parents argue with their teachers.  They see parents argue with each other.  Teachers argue with each other.  By observation Family_Portraitalone, children learn that rules must be negotiable.  Children learn that one set of rules at home, may be different at the babysitters’ – the pre-school’s – the other biological parents’ or grandparents’ homes.  Nap time?  Negotiable.  Homework? Negotiable.  Cuss words?  Jacket worn to school?  Move to a new seat in the classroom?  No recess?  Fighting at school? TV? Computer? Phone?  Children are adaptable and learn pretty quickly where they can stretch the boundaries…any boundary…ALL boundaries.

Our “busy” and “denuclearized” society makes this commandment even more difficult.  Parents divorced.  Many step-parents and siblings. Many quasi-step-parents and sibs.  Grandparents – married into or quasi????  Attachments extended familyto family members?  As adults enter their own sphere of knowledge, it gets easier and easier to break those familial attachments.  The “Honoring” bird flies quickly away when not fed.  Instead, it is much easier to use our “new” family, our job, our extra curricula activities (sports, friends, downtime etc.) as an excuse.  After all, how much time does that grown child remember spending with their own parents while they were growing up – especially if there was a divorce or multiple divorces?  A few phone calls – every so often (weekly? monthly? occasionally?) – to the parental units and call it good.  That’s honoring, right?  Spend a holiday or two with them – maybe – if they live close enough and nothing else is planned.  That’s honoring, right?  Asking them to help out with a sick child or pick-up child.   That’s honoring…right?

I don’t know about you, but as I ponder the fifth commandment more deeply and think about all the messiness of our world, I wish this commandment was handed out to every family unit and read aloud each evening as prayers are said. I wish it was still posted in schools.  Perhaps……sadly……the fifth commandment really is  hard to follow.

BTW – the sun that broke through the clouds as I was typing the first paragraph?  Was completely swallowed up by the said clouds as soon as I started typing the second paragraph.  God winked so I guess I’m going to be spending some time reading Revelations today.  joy-comes-with-the-morning

*pictures Google images/Youtube