Today as I pulled up the Google home page, the tagline beneath the search engine informed me that today is World Teachers’ Day. I looked it up–and lo and behold, it is an actual holiday. Not the sort that would get you off work, but one apparently officially recognized.
So I’ll take the opportunity to pay tribute to my favorite teachers: Mom and Dad.
Mom has been a stay-at-home mom and a homeschooling mom for almost 25 years. She’s put all her energy into running our home (meal plans, grocery shopping, potty-training her kids, cleaning the house, bookkeeping), and into helping Dad with his ministries (cleaning the house and cooking for Bible studies held in our house), and into teaching her kids (curriculum research, school planning, grading papers, walking us through lessons–this latter sometimes over and over and over.) In addition to the staples of reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, spelling, grammar, &etc. she gave us books on logic and basic economics. And she taught us to narrate a lesson or chapter we’d just read. This was an exercise nearly all of us hated during our school years, but I’m thankful for it now. Narrating helps me articulate and reiterate anything I learn.
Additionally, Mom taught us how to do chores–when we were ages 4–5, chores were as simple as emptying the little trash cans into the big trash can, making our beds, tidying our rooms, and cleaning up any blocks, dolls, tea sets, &etc. that we scattered across the living room carpet. As we grew older, able to reach higher, work harder, and handle more responsibility, she taught us to sort and fold laundry, unload and re-load the dishwasher, dust the furniture, scrub the toilets and bathtubs, and so on. She also taught us to cook–again, when we were little, it was as simple as cracking eggs and whisking them in a bowl for scrambled eggs, but as we grew older, Mom taught us to follow more complicated recipes, coordinate cooking times, and how to carefully use sharp knives and hot pans.
She taught us, basically, to take care of the home we live in, serve the family we live with, shoulder responsibility, and how to maintain our future homes someday.
While Mom taught the bulk of the book-work, Dad also did some of the teaching. As far back as I can remember, he has led the whole family in devotions, in reading and learning from God’s word. (Greek and Hebrew lessons were a valiant goal, but the attempts fell through. :-)) Dad also notices “teachable moments”–unplanned moments that he uses to illustrate a lesson or principle. While eating at a restaurant one afternoon, Dad asked us (little kids at the time): “What if we left without paying for our food? What would that be called? Stealing. What does the Bible say about stealing?” A few years later, we were driving home from church as fast as legally possible because were were all tired–when the van decided to cop an attitude and flatten a tire. As Dad wrestled with the jack and the spare, he called us out of the car to show us how the gears of the tire worked. And though serious when the situation requires, he has a great sense of humor and also taught us how to make puns. 🙂
Both Mom and Dad gave us a love of learning. They read to us constantly–stories about varied time periods, cultures, and problems. Some of our favorite picture books are A New Coat for Anna; A Pair of Red Clogs; Erandi’s Braids; I Love You the Purplest; Papa Piccolo; and Mirette on the High Wire. As we grew older, we read the American Girls series and the Narnia books, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew; Girl of the Limberlost; Adam of the Road; A Door in the Wall (actually, that was an audio book we listened to in the car while running errands–proof that you can learn anywhere at any time).
Also, Mom and Dad encouraged our interests–they never told us a book was “too hard”, and if we became interested in pioneer life or turtles or sharks or art, they took us to the library to check out books and research those subjects further. They patiently let us experiment with hands-on projects: making homemade butter and candles, cooking foods from different cultures and time periods, sewing doll dresses, and burying our dining room table in art paraphernalia, including, but not limited to, markers, paint, clay, beads, construction paper, glitter, glitter glue, dot art, Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, and other supplies.
But the most important lesson my parents taught is godly behavior. They have lived out the principles they believe in. They’ve messed up and asked for our forgiveness and each other’s. They’ve turned town jobs or opportunities that would take them away from their kids (and from each other). They’ve kept God at the center of our home, and made family harmony the next highest priority.
Planting the seeds of love’s legacy
Passing her faithfulness right down to me
Writing the song of my destiny
I stand here because of her love’s legacy.
~ “Love’s Legacy” by Annie Moses Band