By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist
I still have tears at the beginning of school and the ending each May. A teacher and student have a bond neither can forget. My students will always be my “babies.”
With another school year ending, I am reminded of the many blessings I have received from my teaching career. I guess I would have taught forever, but my husband said, “You have to quit while the kids still like you!”
I learned many lessons in those 31 years of teaching. Interwoven into these lessons I found love, faith, hope, courage and forgiveness. Here are some of the rules of life my students taught me:
• “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
• To be on the ball, you have to keep correcting your mistakes.
• The more you read, the smarter you’ll be.
• You can’t do your work if your stomach is growling
• Every problem has several possibilities.
• If it’s raining outside, stop working and listen to the rain.
• When you’re not happy, stop working and you’ll be happy.
• Say “Amen” after you say “The Pledge of Allegiance.” It makes you feel better.
• Don’t drink too much punch at parties. That junk will make you sick.
• Going on a trip is fun, but it’s more fun when you get there.
• When confused, smile and wait. Help is on the way.
• Don’t let school ruin your weekends.
• If you want to stay out of trouble, follow the rules.
• When someone whispers, everybody listens.
• If you do something wrong, someone will always find out.
• Look through someone else’s glasses. It changes how you see things.
• Take a bath before you have your picture made. It makes the picture smile.
• If you miss the bus, don’t cry. It isn’t dark yet.
• You can’t listen and talk at the same time.
• Do your best and then go play.
• Holding hands with someone keeps you from getting lost.
• Saying “Please” and “Thank You” makes you feel good inside.
• When you smile, it “rains” sunshine.
• Hugging a friend is like hugging God.
• Money can buy candy, but it ruins your teeth, so which do you want?
• Everyone gets a turn.
• Don’t hurry up to slow down.
• If you had fun, you won!
• If you talk all the time, your hearing goes bad.
• Being mad at someone will make you sick.
• Make it right before night.
All of us could benefit from these “out-of-the-mouths-of-babes” principles. I know they certainly can be applied to my life. They come from that wonderful world of children. A child’s faith is a treasure of trust. What a lesson they taught me, and I am forever grateful.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’ And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left” (Matthew 19:14-15 NLT).
Matthew 18:14 also talks about the humility in children: “So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (NLT)
I would like to dedicate my poem to ex-students who will always have a piece of my heart. They have given me something money can never buy … a lesson in trust, faith and love.
“As long as there are children, there will always be a smile.
As long as there are children, it will always be worthwhile.
As long as there are children, there will be faith, hope and love,
For in the lives of children are God’s riches from above.
As long as there are children, it’s the Kingdom we will see,
For in the hearts of children is love for you and me.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org