My Mother Was A Brilliant Teacher
When I was in sixth or seventh grade there was a boy in our class who came from a family of ten children. The family lived on a farm and the children worked in the barns before school. This boy had one pair of boots to wear in the barn and to school and they carried the smell of the barn. A group of students, myself included, joked and laughed, making fun of him for smelling, and even talked of sending him deodorant in the mail so he would understand how bad we thought the smell was.
One day after school, I was telling my mother about how clever we were in our idea of getting the message to him by sending deodorant. My mother did not scold me, but, rather, she asked, “Cathie, where did your father grow up?” I answered, “at the farm (it was during the Depression and several families lived at the family farm). Mom continued, “What did he have to do before school”? Of course, I answered, “worked in the barn”. Mom then said, “So do you think he had more than one pair of boots?”
That conversation was over fifty years ago, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. This was a strong lesson to me in being compassionate and loving toward others, (the do unto others rule) but, it also taught me to teach my children with a more thought-provoking process, rather than being quick to reprimand.