Day 19: Teach
I thought about Ms. Moag today. She was my sixth grade teacher. I remember thinking Ms. Moag was old. What was she, 40 maybe? Gah, to be 40 again!
Ms. Moag ran a tight ship. She had high expectations and didn’t want to hear excuses. But she believed in you. Ms. Moag somehow convinced you that you could conquer the world and it made you want to work harder.
One day, Ms. Moag pulled all the girls aside. She talked about hormones and our bodies changing and a stash of supplies she kept in her desk drawer. I remember thinking that Ms. Moag talked about women and girls with great dignity. She was confident and carried herself without shame. And I wanted to be like her when I grew up.
My parents divorced that year. I was the only girl in my class whose parents were facing this challenge. I talked about it with my teacher. Ms Moag listened and responded in her no-nonsense way, “You’re going to be alright”. It wasn’t patronizing, nor was it dismissive. I knew she meant it and I believed her.
There have been several teachers, professors, and pastors over the years who have left indelible prints on my soul. My sophomore year psychology teacher who introduced me to the wonderful world of the mind. He lost his mother that year and showed me what a tender-hearted man looked like.
My science teacher who showed us a documentary on bugs taking over the world who sparked a bug phoebe that still plagues me. He talked openly about being an atheist in class. It planted a seed to take my faith seriously later when I become a Christian.
My senior composition teacher who forced me to do multiple drafts of the same paper. She inspired a love for writing and story telling.
Every teacher, pastor, Bible study leader, and professor has left a mark. Some I resisted and some I embraced. I remember the lessons. I remember when they encouraged, challenged, corrected, and listened. They were so important. They shaped my person and future.
Sometimes on Sundays, okay most Sundays, I wonder if anyone heard a word. I see the folded arms, eye-rolling, and shifting in the pews. I wonder if it matters. I wonder if free coffee would help. I wonder if we are all wasting our time.
But then I think about Ms. Moag and my psychology teacher and that science teacher and my English professor. I think about the sermons that still direct my steps and I have to trust the process.
During Lent, I want you to know, my teacher/pastor/Bible leader friends, you make a difference! Get yourself another coffee and a fresh notebook and write the next lesson plan. Prep your next sermon. Brainstorm your next syllabus. You are indelible!