Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Third Graders

Today I made my annual pilgrimage to Spring Creek Elementary and spoke to the third graders about Writing. The teacher, Mrs. Fischer, is a dedicated soul who has the children write tall tales and also observations of nature as though they were along on Lewis and Clark's expedition, all while she is under pressure to spend more time on "teaching to the test" and less on creative pursuits.

So I talked about ideas and re-writing and communication. Most kids listened with big round eyes and one asked me which of my six children is my favorite and a few whispered and punched their neighbors, but if I were an 8-year-old boy and this lady came to talk about Writing, I don't think I'd listen either.

Last night I heard a sermon from a former third-grader. The guy we thought we had booked for a week of revival meetings had something different on his calendar, so we fished in more local waters and will have 3 bishops from local congregations speak a night or two each.

So Steve Zehr from Tangent Mennonite spoke last evening about the majesty of Jesus, in such a way that we saw it for ourselves and gasped, and that is no small thing.

Steve was one of my third graders at Lake Creek, back in the day, a calm and confident little guy who was comfortable in his own skin and didn't have anything to prove, and who would set me straight if the occasion required but wasn't arrogant about it. Now and then he gave me a cupcake his mom had made, chocolate with a creamy filling.

I gather he's the same sort of bishop.

Back then, I didn't see him as a future preacher, much less someone who could get up front and inspire.

I don't take any credit for who and where he is today, but it is a relief to know that I didn't inadvertently discourage the potential out of him.

And it goes to show you never can tell what might happen with third graders.

Quote of the Day:
Jenny: We should have adopted Janane into our family!!
Janane: We would kill each other. We were just meant to be friends.


  1. My co-teacher and I talk sometimes with respect about people who have leadership positions now, and I regale her with tales about what they were like in grade school. (I'm old enough to remember!) These stories give us courage to persevere with those who aren't always cooperative or grateful students.

  2. Before retirement I supervised scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. I have probably terminated as many scientists because they couldn't write reports or give clear presentations as I have because they couldn't do quality research in the lab.

  3. I like that, Mrs. I. And I tend to be intimidated by ministers but somehow if they used to be my students, they are much less intimidating.
    Wes, that is very interesting. And good motivation to teach the scientific types to write well. A son or two come to mind here.

  4. love the QOTD! And your post, as usual.

  5. Dorcas Byler4/27/2011 1:21 PM

    You "tend to be intimidated by ministers"--hmm--I guess unless that minister is your husband.
    The QOTD was grand!!

  6. Ha! Good point, Dorcas B. Unless it's my husband.

  7. Great post.
    I was in Steve's age group as a teenager and I thought he was mean sometimes in his teasing. I never pictured him as a bishop, of course. But I know he's a fine man.