I Had a Slow Childhood

I Had a Slow Childhood

School was called off for today before I even went to bed last night. It meant that my sister and I leisurely watched a movie and then talked for a while before curling up to fall asleep. This morning, the snow hadn’t started yet so I went out of the house for a couple of hours, returning as the snow began to lie thick on the roads. Ideally, though, I would have been still tucked away in my bed or perhaps snuggled on the couch with a cup of coffee as I turned through my latest book.

In high school, I was surprised when I heard that on snow days kids went to go hang out at the mall. For me, it was an unthinkable action. Why would I go out into the blustery weather when that was the exact reason I wasn’t at school? I also was gifted with a father who would have unquestionably smacked me with a hearty dose of common sense if I would have even asked to drive to town despite the weather. Being at home was actually what I wanted to do anyway. While I liked school, I didn’t mind a day of sleeping in and being home. The same still holds true as an adult.

I grew up slow.

By that, I mean, as I grew up, we moved slowly.

I look at the schedules my students have or the schedules of kids and it looks so different from my youth. In elementary school, I usually rode the bus home and I was there until the next day when I left for school. My mom made supper and we all ate together. Sometimes the older siblings were running off to practice or games, but we almost always ate supper around our dining room table.

My summers were quiet, too. Sometimes we explored the farm or watched too much TV or read book after book. But it was slow, with plenty of time and space for us to play in the hay loft or read through book lists with forty to fifty titles. It wasn’t perfection, although my memory tends to cast an overly rosy hue on the days of my childhood. However, it had the great beauty of not being rushed.

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Teach through me, O Holy Spirit…

August 21, 2013

My second year of teaching has begun and I am peddling my way through the first week.  It is a long and arduous task to jump back into teaching.  However, my dad is quick to remind me (and therefore not sympathize with me) that I had the entire summer to do nothing.  After last year, I believe teachers deserve that.  Yes, of course I would say that.

I just wanted to quickly share a little blessing from today.  This year I’m starting each class with some personal prayer time for my students.  The idea is for it to be a transition time from other classes and help them focus on how this is different than the rest of their day.  Today my sophomores prayed with St. Augustine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit.

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. 
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. 
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. 
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 
Amen.

I asked them to spend some time reading through it and then to find a line that jumped out to them or that they liked and sit with it for a while.  I encouraged them to close their eyes and pray with the line, meditating on what they are asking the Holy Spirit to do in that line.  My first class did it well enough but my second class really took it home.  As I write this I consider that being a high school teacher has taught me to count the little victories. 

My second Scripture class spent some time praying with it and they seemed to be pretty still.  I asked how many of them liked the quiet, expecting them to respond negatively.  The majority of the class raised their hand and said they liked the quiet.  Taking another brief poll, I asked if many had a line that jumped out at them or if they just picked what they liked best.  Again a majority said one line seemed to jump out at them.  I asked for a couple to share what line they had prayed with and the first person shared that they chose the first line but that they didn’t get it really.  That was the line I had prayed with and so I was eager to share what I had thought about.  I asked them to close their eyes if they wanted and to concentrate on their breathing.  I let a couple seconds pass and because my eyes were closed I didn’t know if anyone was complying or if they were staring at the crazy lady in the front of the classroom.  Then I told them to think about each breath in as though they were breathing in the Holy Spirit.  And to consider that the Holy Spirit was sanctifying their thoughts and everything within them.  Just a few more seconds passed before we continued with class but for me it was a beautiful moment. 

Despite what I am often led to think, the youth have depth and desires that can be surprising.  It was a reminder that the Holy Spirit can lead and guide far better than I can.  Thank You, Lord, for little blessing, for giving me hope, and for reminding me that if I simply bring them to You, that You will take care of the rest.

Come, Holy Spirit…..