Time goes by so fast.
My children off to 4th and 7th grade…it seemed like yesterday I was either going to Mrs. Batts in 4th grade or Mr… Coach Hunter and Mrs. Slate for 7th grade.
I was probably wearing an add-a-bead necklace and a Swatch watch. I still remember how much I loved that vest I wore for my school picture in 7th grade. I loved it! I’m surprised the collar on the shirt underneath it wasn’t pulled up with my Dorothy Hamill hairstyle.
I remember how hard 4th grade was for me. Being at the beginning of “tween life” and starting to go through changes, having a teacher that scared me didn’t help the matter. I remember Mrs. Batts. She was an older lady (at least was to me then) and had a big boof hairstyle and a big smile. But I was intimidated by her. One of her arms and hand were smaller than the other and didn’t have much use. Her voice was a little slow and for me hard to understand.
She was a survivor. A survivor of polio.
(I run upstairs to my closet and found the storage box that holds my childhood yearbooks…there’s Mrs. Batts).
But as the 9 and 10 year old I was, I didn’t know what polio was and what it did. I just remember I was a little scared of her and I thought she was a hard teacher. I remember she had to raise her voice some, but I don’t think it’s because she was a mean person, but just because 4th grade kids can test nerves. But I remember I’d come home almost every day and cry. Homework was difficult and I thought it was because couldn’t understand her… but maybe it was simply because 4th grade had a harder curriculum. Probably it was some of both.
I think back now and wonder about Mrs. Batts. She’d probably be in her 70s or 80s. I think what an inspiration she’s probably been for so many children and doesn’t know it. I didn’t know it until many years later…
I’m sure she had to have fears and struggles but I didn’t see them in her. I saw how she could be very firm when she had to be….but never nervous or intimidated by a class of 25 ragamuffins. It was me that had fears and struggles in that classroom…like we all do at some time.
I can see now her determination and faith and believed she could do all things through Christ. She didn’t allow her handicap to make her quit. She chose to use her sharp mind yet crippled body to teach young kids like me. And she taught me a lot more than division, vocabulary and North Carolina history.
After Christmas break all was well. I liked her. It ended up being a good year.
But she taught me more than the facts. She taught me to not give up. She lived by hope…hope that defeated handicaps and fears. She taught me that beauty is more important on the inside than the outside.
Now our children are at these “growing years”. Growing in so many ways. There are people and teachers and peer and friends in their lives whom they learn from. I pray that they will, at an early age, learn not to give up, to live by faith, and see the beauty of people from the inside more than outside. That God will continue to put people in their lives, besides us, their mom and dad, that will give them godly influence and guidance. I know they’ve already been given that gift of some other special people in their lives…of whom I’m so grateful.
I love those kids…
#852 Kids excitement of first day of school for 4th and 7th grades
#853 unexpected card from a sweet friend
#854 close friends who got their first picture of their new daughter they’re adopting in Haiti…Ellie! Beautiful!!
#855 confirmation from another writer’s blogpost
#856 husband took me out for a lunch date
#857 dance music blaring upstairs and hearing thumps on ceiling of kids dancing
#858 surprise gift from our favorite babysitter whom we miss
#859 box full of Christian CD’s given to all our small group kiddos
#860 the spotless ladybug that landed on my arm
#861 the teeny-tiny rollie pollie daughter found that made her smile…like little bugs always do.
#862 the lessons I learned from Mrs. Batts
#863 childhood yearbooks
#864 celebrating my niece’s 8th birthday