Tomorrow my very first great-grandchild starts kindergarten. I cannot believe I have been blessed to be able to experience three generations of my family starting that new and exciting journey. My prayer for each of them has always been that they are lucky enough to find that one, special teacher who will see them for who they are and help them cultivate their talents and gifts. I was blessed to have had two in my elementary school days and what they taught me still lingers after all these years.
You may have heard me talk about my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Zimmler, who ruled his class with an iron grip, more drill sargent than teacher to the naked eye, but who, underneath his “no-nonsense-follow-the-rules” exterior lay the heart of a poet, a lover of the written and spoken word. It was his powerful use of punishment essays that led some of us to repent of our rebellious ways quickly before our hands fell off from writing. For others, like me, it was actually the tool I needed to go after my dreams … I just didn’t know it then, but he did. Mr. Zimmler lovingly, and with great thought, passed me on to my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Rotholtz who, after actually sitting and reading the thick file that contained my own punishment essays (my feminist, freedom-loving banter with Mr. Zimmer had earned me the record for longest punishment essay ever assigned … 3,000 words), said to me, “Would I be right if I guessed that you want to be a writer? If so, we have lots of work to do. You have talent galore, but you need discipline and focus.” With that she took me under her wing and introduced me to the likes of Edna St. Vincent Millay, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and others. She never played the “you’ll never be able to support yourself writing” card as all the other adults did. She fed my dreams and my soul. Together, Mr. Zimmler and Mrs. Rotholtz not only gave me wings, they taught me how to fly.
Last week on August 30th, we noted the anniversaries of the passing of two of the greatest teachers of my adult life, Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer, who passed over on the same day three years apart. Together they helped me heal my life and gave me a new set of tools so that I could help others do the same. I am deeply grateful that I was gifted with not one, but two sets of teachers that helped me to grow as well as to thrive. We should all be so lucky.
So this week as I watch my little Xavier hop on that school bus with his new back pack and lunch box, I will wish him joy and excitement as he ventures forth on this new adventure. With luck, he will find a gift of his own in the one who will lead him.
This week over on the Home Page we will be talking about things we’ve learned growing up and the profound effect teachers have had on us. Let’s consider this a “what we did over the summer” kind of assignment! As always, have fun with it and remember to just keep writing.
Peace and blessings.