Growing up, one of four boys and attending a Christian school was a fun time. We were very active in AWANA and I remember winning Clubber of the year one year when my parents were the leaders. They nominated me even though I had a rotten attitude towards just about everything. Whenever a call didn’t go my way during game time I would make a public scene. I was a real crybaby. I see this trait of whine being passed on through one of my three children. But being in AWANA gave me valuable scripture verses that I memorized and still know today for which I am eternally grateful.
I really remember having very little interest in the things of God. Mom made us memorize verses for AWANA and I even completed the whole course and won the Timothy award although I think I cheated on the final exam you were required to pass. In school, we used A.C.E. curriculum. Not only would I cheat on the work and whenever I graded it, but I would also fudge the assignment page so that I would only have to do three pages a day rather than the required four. I was relatively smart and could get by with very little effort in school and so I gave very little effort and therefore learned very little.
Except for first grade, I had the same teacher for Kindergarten, and second through at least fourth grade. Her name was Mrs. Spaulding and she was wonderful. I knew that that lady loved me. I learned very little , for a variety of reasons but she made a big deal out of stupid poems I wrote and to my knowledge she actually appreciated me. She probably had the biggest influence on me in wanting to become a teacher. But as I entered the field, I was driven by the fact that I wanted to provide an education so a kid like me couldn’t slip through the cracks and would be forced to learn…A LOT.
The only spiritual event that I remember other than what I have already shared was a preacher by the name of Tom Harmon came to our chapel one day. I don’t remember what he preached on, but he was a powerful speaker. At the invitation at the end I raised my hand when he asked if any of us weren’t Christians and wanted to become one. To my knowledge, I was clueless as to being dead in trespasses and sins and knew I had prayed already not to go to hell. I had the letter from pastor Don to prove I was saved. I remember praying something like "God, if I am not saved, please save me." There was no follow up however and nobody prayed with me afterwards or said anything to me. later on in life when daoubts would arise, I had two events to point to so I was sure one of them must have 'counted.'
Like most Christian schools, the one I was at went through some lean years and eventually closed its doors. My older brother Dave and I left the year before it closed and my two younger brothers stayed. All I remember about that was my dad coached them in basketball and I played on the 7th grade team for Perry Public School. I was so consumed with myself, that I barely even knew that I had three brothers let alone what was going on in their lives. I try to teach my children the importance of their siblings because I regret terribly not having a better relationship with mine when I was a kid.
Attending public school was an eye opening experience. But I will share that in the next installment.