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Open Features: My First Teacher

“Paaaammmmmmyyyyyy, come home!” my Mother would sing my name loudly as she stood in the back door to call me home. Her song started on a low note and slowly made it's crescendo to at least an octave higher. You better believe I came home quickly not only because I was taught to come but because the whole neighborhood, and possibly the whole town, would soon know that I was missing, writes Pamy Blaine.

A few years ago there was a book out titled: Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten. However, I would have to say that most of what I know I learned at my Mother's knee, at least the most important things. Before I ever went to school I was taught to say, “Please” and “Thank you”, not only at home but in public. That alone was difficult for a shy little girl.

My Mother taught me practical skills like how to tie my shoes and taught me how to work by showing me how to sort laundry into piles of dark clothes and white clothes. By age eleven, I was doing most of the laundry with an old Maytag wringer washer. Anything I wanted to learn, Momma was willing to teach me. She knew just about everything, at least it seemed so to me. She taught me to crochet by beginning a long chain with a crochet hook. I made potholders by the dozens on a little dime store loom with colored loops that she taught me to weave.

I was taught right from wrong and when I did something wrong, Momma would curl her index finger and move it up and down, saying, “Shame on you. You know better than that.” That made me want to not repeat those actions and to do better the next time.

The most important things my Mother taught me were principles for living that were found in the Bible.

When I was about ten years old, I came home one day from visiting and I thought I had learned a really impressive phrase that I thought would sound really “cool”. I waited for just the right moment when my new found phrase would sound the most impressive. Momma had brought in a bucket of green beans from the garden and I exclaimed, “My G_d, that is a big bucket!” I knew immediately that I had said something wrong by the look on Momma's face. She calmly sat down beside me and said, “We don't take God's name in vain.” She went on to explain what she meant by telling me that God's name was special and we should never use His name unless we are addressing Him with reverence or talking about Him in a respectful way. That was a teaching moment that my Mother used that I have never forgotten because I understood that obedience to God was very important.

I learned from Momma that words had awesome power. I could praise and encourage with my words or I could use them negatively to discourage and cause pain. What a responsibility! She taught me the importance of words and how they could be used for good or for evil, to bless or to curse.

Some words my mother used in teaching me were:

“You aren't the only duck in the pond” (teaching me not to be selfish and to think of others)

“Pretty is as pretty does” (kind actions are more important than beauty)

“Birds of a feather flock together” (Choose good friends and don't be with those who do wrong)

“He/She needs to be taken down a notch or two” (don't have an arrogant, I'm better than you, attitude)

“Don't get too many irons in the fire” (don't take on too many things so nothing gets done well or you are stressed)

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (the golden rule, caring about others as much as self)

One day I heard a mother speak to her 5 year old daughter in anger, saying to her, “I wish you had never been born!” The little girl's face fell as she stood looking so sad and forlorn. Although I did my best to assure the little girl that her Mother was not feeling well and didn't mean it, the situation broke my heart and I can't imagine how the little girl must have felt.

In just a moment, a few words or a phrase can devastate someone's life. Such hurtful words to a child can follow them all of their lives, making them question their worth. Think of how much better and how different the outcome if she had not directed her anger at her child and instead have said, “You are the best gift that was ever given to me.”

I have had many teachers in life and learned something from all of them but I learned the most from my very first teacher, my Mother, and I imagine one day I will hear her call from Heaven's portal, “Paaaammmmmmyyyyyy, come home!”




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