In my class at church, preteens from various backgrounds watch the teachers with expressive eyes. I know their problems. I see their brave struggles. And I remember . . .
Fourth grade at a new school where I felt as if I could never catch up in math. I was the gangly girl with a big nose, wearing glasses, and riding a bike to school. Kids called me “four-eyes.” In fifth grade, my family moved again. Another new school. Although my grades were excellent, I became a snarky brat. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I even tried to start a hateful club. By sixth grade, I’d moved on to middle school. There, a wonderful teacher inspired and encouraged me. One day, however, he asked all students to share their fathers’ employment. My father was ill—and unemployed. I still remember stuttering and blushing.
During those wavering years, when friends became so important to me, I began to sort out my own beliefs. I had a long road ahead, yet those faltering steps formed basic concepts that I cling to now. How did it happen? Who shaped my thoughts? How can I help the preteens who are watching me?
Questions to ponder . . .