Friday, November 28, 2014

Ode to Christian Education


In times of change, the LEARNER will inherit the earth
while the LEARNED will be beautifully equipped
for a world that no longer exists. — Eric Hoffer, American Philosopher

I don’t know about the rest of you
But I grew up in a church school
It all started on a Monday morning
When we had to line up in a long queue

There were children from first form to fifth
And the smaller ones in something called Prep
But the bottom line that I can tell you about
Is that there were no shoulders carrying chips!

We had to study all the usual stuff
Mathematics, English, History and the like
We also had to learn to do a craft
Just in case the economy didn’t last

The emphasis at our church school, was on raising good students
Good people, and especially good citizens for the world to come
So naturally we had to study our memory verses
And learn about something called Facing Life!

I remember my first form teacher, Sister Josiah
Big of heart and body too
She taught me that I could do anything
And showed me how to prove it too!

Sister Watts taught us girls home economics,
Sewing, crochet, embroidery, and cooking
She said any woman who had skills like these
Would always know how her family to feed

Brother Forde taught us our Facing Life class
Dealing with everything from relationships to dealing with self
He taught us that we needed to be strong decision-makers
Never fearful to take care of our selves!

I remember having a terrible temper, and one day was asked to apologize
The apology wasn’t deserved, I didn’t feel sorry, and it showed
So Sister Bayne, our principal, she called me aside, and said
Betty! If you don’t mean it, don’t ever compromise!”

Our church school went further than was necessary
And brought in a celebrity guest to teach,
Her name was Marva Manning and I’ve never forgotten
Anything that she said in her speech

Ms. Manning taught us about dressing on a budget
And how to get our clothing to segue from day to night
She taught us how to be quietly elegant
And how to modulate our voices just right!

And finally there was my fifth form teacher
Sister Maitland, that was her name
She’s the person I’ll always remember
Because of a wonderful game she played.

It was our last semester in high school
When Sister Maitland said she could tell us, each one, who we were
Of course no one believed her
And then the Class was in total uproar!

Sister Maitland had a new name for every student she taught
Which she said epitomized the attributes we displayed
I remember waiting with bated breath
Until my name Sister Maitland gave!

My name, according to the good Sister
Was “Always Willing to Try!”
She explained that that name suited me perfectly
Because I was never afraid to give life a try!

In all the years since I’ve left my church school
I’ve tried valiantly to live up to my second given name
And I can tell you without fear of contradiction
That I have proudly lived up to, and worn, my name!

The results of many of the lessons we learnt
Were often not obvious until we left school
And that was when respect for self, and others, and faith in our Almighty God
Carried us forth to live life most nobly

Our teachers were men and women of great faith
Who strongly believed that teaching was their calling to serve
They loved us, each one, as if we were their own special child
And proudly taught us and guided us to the Word.

So, if you still have doubts about, the value of a Christian education
Look around you as we celebrate today
You’ll see gallant men, noble women, willing workers, lifelong learners, not one shirker

Gladly serving each other in the world, through the Word.