Sunday, December 09, 2007


My seventh grade history class was dull. But the teacher, whose name I honestly cannot remember, had that odd sense of humor that I enjoyed even as my classmates scoffed at her. Our first day of class we trickled slowly into the room. Very slowly. It was seventh period and August in Alabama, which translates to hot any way you slice it. As I recall, it had been a particularly dry summer, as well.

Upon entering the classroom, I plopped down in an uncomfortable seat and sulked as I watched others come through the door. Not a single friend from sixth grade wound up in that class. Back in those days, I was pretty much a wallflower around people I didn't know. Red-headed, freckled, tall and lanky, I was highly unsure of myself. I was mortified when the teacher strode to the front of the class and told us to please stand up and remain standing as she called our names off the class roster. My name was first, so twenty-some-odd sets of eyes shifted to me. Blissfully, I was soon joined by all of them and Mrs History Teacher sat us all down in alphabetical order. Great. Front row, first seat. That was me.

She then clicked through a laundry list of classroom rules that boiled down to just this: Sit, don't talk, do your work. Then she turned her back on the class and began writing on the chalkboard. We all started sneaking glances towards each other, mutually, but silently, agreeing that we were in for a rough end to every single day of our seventh grade careers. When Mrs Teacher cleared her throat, we snapped to attention and read what she had written on the board.

If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

I feel sure that she must have quoted the author of this saying, but only Abe Lincoln runs through my head. I think he was the "A house divided against itself.." guy. She then gave us a student contract to sign. Something about following the rules, being respectful to her and our classmates, giving our all, and finding meaning for ourselves in the classroom motto.

I signed, because it was expected of me to. And I am nothing, if not compliant. Or I was in those days. For my teachers. I all but sprinted for the door as the bell signaled the end of my daily sentencing. I burst outside and jogged over to the bus lines, where I cut up with people I knew and vented about my unbelievable history teacher.

The year is now a blur. I remember laughing appreciatively at her jokes, even if they leaned toward the corny. I got used to my first seat in the front row, and learned to be grateful for it, as I had plenty of room to stretch my legs in the afternoons. And I graduated from seventh grade with few memories of what took place in history. But, I did remember the class motto. And it still cycles through the ol' gray matter occasionally.

For instance, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw Elizabeth pull to a standing position for the first time last night. As I gazed at her with pride in my heart, Mrs Teacher's motto crossed through my mind. My little girl will be learning to stand soon. I hope she learns to stand strong for our Lord, so that when she falls, and she will, it will be in His strong arms.


Angel said...

She is precious. And I definitely didn't know you were such a writer! I hope everything is going well for you. Leslie told me she had found your blog and I had to check it out for myself. It's sad, we live in the same town, I don't see ya'll any more than I do anyone else. Well, I guess it could be because we're pretty much hermits. Have a great day!

Clark and Laura Forman said... i kinda remember this same teacher too!! crazy how we can forget something that seemed sooo important at the time huh? but i won't forget that we had lockers by each other and homeroom together EVERY year!! :) and of course wesley black was right there with us!! gotta love him, right?? :)
thanks for bringing back memories...oh how i am glad they are in the past!!!

Sonya said...

How cute!

I feel the same way about my girls. I know they will be faced with adversity because of their love of Christ and I hope they stand strong. I know that's what I spend each day teaching them to do.