Have we all experienced a school teacher we've fallen in love with in the past?
I hope so. I know for me that one very special teacher I loved in grade school also inspired a love of learning and funny enough reached back through the hand of time the other day and taught me yet another valuable life lesson.
I remember that Miss Krista was pretty (I don't know if she really was or if I just found her beautiful because of how she occurred for me.) She was kind, with patient eyes, and a gentle smile, and when she breezed past my desk the most wonderful mix of fragrance did too, like lavender, cotton candy, and summer. Her patient quiet eyes, and her gentle smile were an endless source of encouragement as I fumbled through agonizing lessons of reading and writing.
The other day I was going through an attic room and found my "school box." Growing up, my mother always kept a folder of each grade, our class picture, and several papers that may have seemed important at that time. She finally turned all those folders in a box over to me about a year ago. For some reason my own childish scrawl on one of the folders caught my eye, and i knelt to look through a few of the pages and laughed quietly at my wobbly handwriting while becoming awash in memories of each classroom, friends, the endless hallways, location of each drinking fountain, lined loose leaf paper, erasers, and how sharpened pencils smelled as I stood cranking the arm of the wall mounted sharpener in the corner of each class room.
A manilla folder marked "Miss Krista" in pink crayon with my loopy cursive poked out from behind another. Inside each of the other folders I had looked inside of I ruefully re-discovered my inadequacies in red pen markings on each of my written pages which corrected my grammar, and spelling. Throughout all my school years it had been roughly the same, and the corrections consistant. I grew to know and expect that my pages, essays, and tests would come back littered with red pen remarks, slashes, and circles. The comments in the margins were pretty much the way I grew to experience my own view of myself, and unconciously I know those red pen words haunted me and designed a portion of my future...."More attention to detail!" "If monica only applied herself to her school work as much as to her social life.." "See me!"
But inside Miss Krista's class folder, i kind of sat for a dazed moment realizing that something was different, and when I figured out what it was, what I saw surprised and then moved me.
Each page in tender childish hand was a "short" story written in a few sentences, and each one of them was horribly and obviously misspelled. I was not shocked by the poor spelling and wretched grammer but instead by the bold blue cursive ballpoint remarks and exclamations of "Excellent!" "Such imagination!" "Good Job!" "Keep up the good work!" and the gold and silver stars that I vividly remember shining off the page at me as my fellow student passed it back.
As I stared at the pages it suddenly dawned on me that the lesson's she was more interested in teaching us were those of encouragement, enthusiasm, and a love of learning. Each of my pages were clear of any red pen, and ONLY made note of my successes. Had she figured that all of us would be corrected and informed of our mistakes for the rest of our school days? Had she purposefully decided to only focus on our/my strengths? I'd love to think that perhaps she was interested in honoring each of us more for our enthusiasm and to nourish a love for learning than she was about highlighting our mistakes, and even though it was her JOB to teach us...what was the more valuable lesson at that moment? and then other questions..."Is that why I remember her so fondly?" "Is that why she seemed so beautiful to me?"
Imagine if all of us were like Miss Krista? I think of my children, my employee's, my family, and my friends.
How do I occur for them? Am I patient? loving? kind and and encouraging? Am I light on the red pen and heavy on the blue? Can I take a moment and simply applaud them in their efforts? and for their own unique contribution and perspective? Can I write them notes in the margins of their lives that are only ones of encouragement and celebration? Can I let the rest of life correct and wound with it's red pen? Can I make a difference in their lives and focus only on the good and if correction is necessary, do so with as much empathy and grace as was shown to me by those angels in my life like Miss Krista?
It's amazing to me how a past event or memory can trigger an insight that might alter the way you see a thing, and for that, I say, Life is Baeutiful.