Kind thoughts go a long way during times of disagreement
I knew she was exasperated with me, but at that point I was beyond caring.
Nobody but nobody was going to tell me that I came from monkeys; not a teacher, not some faceless person in a book; nobody!
The worst part was that I think my Grade 5 teacher didn’t really believe it herself, but it was part of the curriculum, so teach she did.
I actually liked Miss Hillman — she was a kind and gentle teacher, but having been raised in a Christian home, I could not handle a teaching that flew in the face of what I had been taught all my life to that point.
That year, I did probably more research on that subject than any other I have ever done in my life.
I got books from the library; I spoke with pastors, even a lawyer who our family knew; not that a lawyer would know anything different than me, but they were professionals and as such, garnered my respect.
After two visits to the principal’s office and receiving the strap, and a visit to the principal with Dad in tow, we finally just had to subject ourselves to whatever was being taught, whether we agreed with it or not.
I have learned a lot since Grade 5, not that much according to some, but I have learned this much; that with the eroding of core values in our society and a concerted effort to remove Christ not only from Christmas but from our schools and even our lives, we are just beginning to reap what we have sewn.
We grew up with some very demanding standards; most good, but others not so good, but they were standards that helped people stay within an acceptable societal framework so that all who wished could grow and develop without fear of chaos.
Within that framework, we could discuss our differences and we could even agree to disagree, and then go about on our way.
We did not have to express our feelings by arming ourselves and blowing 26 people away at a school for children.
Even at the soup kitchen, I found that probably half of the people there had heard of that incident and agreed that without the standards we used to have, you have nowhere for frustrated people to deal with their problems, because they have nothing to measure their feelings against.
They may not believe the same as me, but we all agree on that point.
On Tuesday evening we had a beautiful meal supplied and served by Camdon Construction and as the evening drew to a close, one client who I have had quite a bit of difficulty with recently came to me and made this statement:
“I know that we don’t always see eye to eye, but in spite of that, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for all you do.”
As I thought about that, I suddenly remembered my Grade 5 teacher. With all that I was putting her through, as I left for Christmas break, Miss Hillman asked me to stay behind for just a moment.
When everyone had left, she approached me and putting her hands on my shoulders, she looked me in the eyes and said, “I just want you to know that even with all the discussions we have been having, I want to make sure you understand that I don’t dislike you, and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.”
That scene probably taught me more than any arguing ever could, and so it is with that in mind, that I can say totally without reservation: Merry Christmas one and all.
Chris Salomons is kitchen co-ordinator for Potter’s Hands ministry in Red Deer.