Teach your children well

By Nancy Black

Sometimes, it is fun to be an adult. “Sometimes” is the key word in that sentence. But when you get to teach a child an important life lesson, it feels really powerful and good to be old.

I was driving home recently down a street lined with apartments when two young boys, probably around 9 years old, darted out in front of my car. I saw them in time to honk my horn and stop abruptly, then allowed them to pass in front of me. 

As I released my brake pedal and started to drive away, I saw one of the boys in my rearview mirror point his fingers at me like a gun. He fired his pretend bullet at the back of my van.

“Oh, I don’t think so, Mister,” I said out loud as I threw my car into reverse. As soon as the boys saw me backing up, they froze. I was quickly beside them, my passenger side window now rolled down.

“What did you just do?!” I said to the boy who pretended to shoot me. He stammered for words. His friend looked at him, then back at me.

“Did you just pretend you shot a gun at my car? You want to shoot me because I honked at you for running across the street and almost getting killed? You think that is funny?!?! That is not very smart is it? You do NOT ever show such disrespect to a driver again; do you understand me?” 

(Have I mentioned I can be really mean when necessary?)

“Yes, ma’am,” both boys whispered. “Excuse me?” I said. “Yes, ma’am,” they answered will their full voices.

I drove off thinking, “those boys should know better than to act like that.” Especially in this day and age of mass shootings and murders. 

But it’s possible they don’t know proper behavior because no one has ever taken the time to teach them right from wrong. 

That is why I am so thankful for teachers. Where a parent may or may not have slacked off in life lessons for their children, teachers pick up the slack.

As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, I would like to give a shout out to all the dedicated teachers and staff who run our schools, public or private. What a daunting task they have ahead of them. Not only do they have to deal with hundreds of different children with unique personalities and learning styles, now they have to be on guard against imminent physical danger. 

I truly appreciate good teachers. And I have been blessed to have many. My children even got to have the same math teacher as I had 40 years before them. That was really cool. 

(Shout out to Mrs. Hamilton!) 

But I could never be a teacher. It takes an abundance of patience, which I do not have. Ask any slow driver I have ever been behind. Lack of patience is a character defect I work on daily, but it does limit my job skills, so teaching is out.

To have the ability to inspire young minds is a gift. So thank you, area teachers, for sharing your amazing talents with our children.

Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, once said: “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

Maybe, after a little schooling this semester, that young boy from the street will use his fingers to shoot me a peace sign next time.