Nana and Minions

For the first time in my life, my schedule does not revolve around a school calendar.

Even before I started kindergarten in 1957, our family’s schedule followed the school calendar because my father taught high school.

I went from attending elementary school to junior high, then high school, and on to college. I graduated in June of 1974 and began teaching in August of that year. When we began having children, Phil was in seminary, afterward he began working at WCU in campus ministry, and then on to his teaching career as our own children began school. All that time we followed a school schedule.

I re-entered the “work force” as a volunteer teacher when our youngest child entered kindergarten and have been teaching in one capacity or another until I retired in June.

Last week I did not get up and either get myself or others ready for school.

My life until now has had a definite pattern – the school schedule.

  • start in August or September
  • new classes, new lessons, new challenges
  • off for Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • classes through winter (hoping for snow days)
  • off for spring break
  • finish the year STRONG
  • organize for the coming school year
  • off for the summer to RECHARGE
  • start again…..

Artists use pattern in many ways. The principle of design “pattern” is defined this way – “the regular arrangement of alternated or repeated elements.”

Patterns in art work give a sense of order and completeness.

Patterns in our lives give us a sense of order and security.

Children who have a pattern to their day are happier and healthier. They eat better and sleep better when they have regular times to eat and sleep. There will always be situations when these patterns are interrupted, but maintaining a routine whenever possible is so beneficial.

This pattern also develops a sense of security in the child because they know what is coming next. Children like the feeling of anticipating the activity they will do next and planning for it. That is not to say they don’t like surprises, but knowing what is next helps children cope with their surroundings and various situations. This is especially true for some children who NEED a pattern to their day to feel secure. These children will be better able to handle the inevitable changes to their routine better if they are given a warning of the change whenever possible and time to adjust.

We tried to maintain the pattern that our daughter and her husband have established this past week when their three middle boys stayed with us. Their family began to keep this schedule when their twins were born and their oldest child was 18 months old. The pattern was their link to sanity!

It has also created happy, secure children who generally know what is coming next. Not to say there are no surprises…. in fact there is never a dull moment!

The most important benefit is control of the chaos.

Truth be told, we adults function better when we have a regular routine. We used to tease my father that he always ate and went to bed at regular times, even when he was much younger. Now at 91 it seems to have paid off. He is very healthy and active.

Just as following a pattern, or repeating positive actions, is beneficial for our physical lives, it is even more important in our spiritual lives. Paul tells Timothy to follow the pattern Paul has set as he follows Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:13-14  (NLT)

13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

That is the most important pattern one can have in life – following the pattern of Jesus – living as He lived.

In a very real sense, my pattern has not changed since I have retired. I desired to follow Jesus before retirement – I desire to follow Him now as well.

May our lives be a beautiful pattern, reflecting the image God.





Back to School


Today was the first day of school for me, three of our grandchildren started kindergarten, and three other grandchildren had their first day in either 2nd or 4th grades.

It was a BIG day!

New beginnings are exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I have been praying for each of our grandchildren that their teachers would love them and see them as individuals.

As a teacher, I pray this for myself as well.

It is easy to notice the students that demand attention either positively or negatively. I have 30 students in my first period class and right now I am making a real effort just to learn all their names.

I started my teaching career in 1974, which I realized this week is 40 years ago! During that time I have taught in the public school, private school, Christian school, and I’ve home schooled.

Now, I have not taught continuously “lo these many years” – but I have taught over 25 years. I have learned some important lessons that help communication between parents and teachers during this time, some because of mistakes I made. I share these thoughts with the hope that each of us allows God’s grace to overshadow all we do as parents and teachers.

So – here goes:

* don’t believe everything your child says – check it out.

I had a parent come see me my second year of teaching and ask me if I had dressed up as a moose. No, I had not. In talking further, we realized that I had a dress with a white pinifore (this was 1975) and that the child was trying to tell her mother that I had dressed like Mother Goose – only the child said “moose”.

* if you have a concern, ask about it respectfully, don’t

I remember thinking “why didn’t the teacher let me know about this earlier” only to find out a note was sent home – but never given to me. Not the teacher’s fault.

* if you have a concern, write a note that says something like this – “I am concerned about Jimmy’s __________ (fear, negative attitude, apathy, lack of understanding of new material, etc) and I was wondering when I could meet to talk with you about it. Is there something I could be doing at home to address this concern?”

Showing up during class or calling during class is NOT a good idea. Teachers want and need to be teaching during class. Waiting around right after school unannounced may also be a problem because the teacher may have after school duty, a faculty meeting, or a sports event for their own child. A note expresses your willingness to respect the teacher’s schedule as well as let the teacher know you want to work together for the good of the child.

* Whenever something positive happens, especially after you have expressed concerns, share appreciation for what the teacher has done and is doing. It means so much and it also sets a good example for our children.

These verses are a good reminder for teachers, parents, and grandparents since we all share the responsibility of teaching our children.

Proverbs 15:2 (TLB)

2 A wise teacher makes learning a joy;

Proverbs 16:21 (TLB)

21 The wise man is known by his common sense, and a pleasant teacher is the best.

May God Bless this school year!