Apples for My Teachers

Autumn is the season for apples. Nearly every teacher has been the recipient of an apple before—at least the glass, gold, or plastic variety if not a real one. Giving a teacher an apple is a student’s way of saying thank you for helping him or her understand something. An apple is both tart and sweet. Like apples, some lessons can be swallowed with joy, and others go down with a sharp tang. Today I would like to say thank you for both kinds of lessons. Here are some apples for my teachers.

Apples for my Teacher

To my kindergarten teacher—thank you for getting so excited when I told you I had trusted Jesus as my Savior the night before. Thank you for asking me to share the news with the other students. You gave me my first early taste of the magnitude of what Christ had done for me and the importance of sharing it with others.

To my first-grade teacher—thank you for cleaning the blood off my chin when I disobediently ran after you told me to walk and fell on the slippery floor. Thank you for still letting me be a Pilgrim in the Thanksgiving play the next day, and for not allowing the other kids to tease me about my stitches. I still have the scar, and I still have the memory of your kindness.

To my second-grade teacher—I remember all those red checkmarks on the clock page in my math book. I honestly thought I would grow up never being able to tell what time it was. Thank you for working a little extra with me so that I could understand.

To my fifth-grade teacher—thank you for not letting me get out of doing oral book reports, even when I cried at the thought of standing and speaking in front of the class. Now I stand in front of a class on a regular basis. I’m so glad you stretched me to trust God and overcome my fears.

To my high school English teacher—thank you for assigning us so much writing. Thank you for teaching us that we could write “I don’t know what to write” in our journals until we thought of more words to put down. I wrote that statement less and less often as the years went on because there was just so much to say, and I felt like you would be interested in whatever I put on the page.

To my high school math and science teachers—thank you for making me think. Thank you for making me work hard. Thank you for bringing joy even to subjects that were difficult for me.

To my high school speech teacher—thank you for letting me do duet acting with my best friend for the speech contest. You will probably never know how many nights I spent wakeful hours dreading that contest. But being able to act with a friend took almost all the fear away and actually made it fun. Thank you for teaching me that with God’s help, we can actually enjoy doing hard things.

To my high school history teacher—thank you for challenging me to think critically about the events in my history book. Thank you for teaching me that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, we are in danger of repeating them.

To all my teachers—you would probably be surprised how often I still think of you. Now that I’m a teacher too, I realize how much I learned from you—not just from what you said, but from who you were and how you lived. I realize how you prayed, labored, and sacrificed to invest in my life. You deserve so much more than an apple. Thank you is the very least I can say. May the Lord bless you as richly as He has blessed me through you.

Don’t Just Google It: Seeking Counsel Mom-to-Mom

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It was our first house, and it needed some work. One of our first projects was tearing out the old stained carpet in the master bedroom. At a carpet store, we browsed the rolls of discounted carpet pieces, and the salesman convinced us to purchase a lonely roll that was supposedly of much higher plush quality than the other colors. The only problem—the color was white. At the time, we didn’t think having white carpet was a big deal, but we didn’t realize it would spotlight every speck of black sock fuzz and every minor stain.

We have all made major or minor decisions that we now regret. We might have avoided them had we taken the time to ask those with more experience for advice. Proverbs is full of instructions about seeking counsel from others, as in Proverbs 15:22 (NKJV): “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

As I begin homeschooling, I want to intentionally seek out advice from wise mothers. Whether they’ve homeschooled their children or guided them through traditional school, they can lead me down a time-tested route and warn me about detours or potholes.

When I have a question about homeschooling, my first inclination, as a child of the digital age, is to Google it. While I’m thankful for the convenience and wealth of information online, I want to guard against the dangers of wasting time and having information overload. Before I realize it’s dinnertime, I have forty-six tabs open on my browser with opinions of people I don’t know from Adam.

If I lived fifty years ago and had a question on teaching or raising my children, the obvious course would have been to pray about it, talk with my husband, and call a trusted friend or relative. While the Internet brings the world together, it threatens to isolate us from true relationships. I know many wise, godly mothers that I can go to for counsel, and many of them happen to be homeschool moms as well. By approaching them, I’m going to sources I trust, and I’m building relationships with women who can encourage me and pray for me.

Seeking personal counsel is worth the extra effort, and integrating our lives with other believers’ lives is the biblical pattern. In Titus 2, the apostle Paul encourages the older women to mentor the younger women so that their lives might honor God’s Word. He told Titus to teach

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3–5 NKJV)

As I blog from a homeschool perspective for BJU Press, I’m planning to interview veteran homeschool moms and share our conversations. So what about you? How have you found ways to balance the convenience of online information with the value of a trusted advisor? How do you balance social media with face-to-face relationships ?

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