May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
Deuteronomy 32:2 ESV
Editor’s Note: The content of this week’s post was published as a Letter to the Editor in the January 2, 2019 edition of the Davie County Enterprise-Record as a response to an editorial written by my preschool administrator.
I’m not sure what thoughts tumbled about in my mind on my final day of preschool at Cooleemee Daycare, but I’m pretty certain I wasn’t reminiscing on life lessons I’d learned from its administrator, Ms. Violet Cain. The thoughts of a five year-old just don’t tumble quite to those depths.
Or mine didn’t, anyway.
But in the years that have passed since then – more years , I suspect, than either she or I care to count – I’ve realized more and more how much Ms. Cain served and blessed the little ones who were placed in her care. Gratefully, her path and mine have crossed on occasion in my adulthood, so I’ve been able to thank her for her care and encouragement all those years ago.
So if you’re a parent, an educator, school system administrator, board of education member or government official and missed Ms. Cain’s letter entitled A Mother Says It’s Best to Choose Life last week, please go back and read it. Print a copy. Laminate it. Frame it. Meditate on her words. Take them to heart.
Because Ms. Cain is the kind of person our homes and school systems so desperately need today. I look back now and realize that her Christian ethics left an indelible mark on the path that lay ahead of me in those early years. Even though her speech (by law) couldn’t teach us kids directly the Christ of Scripture, her actions could and did teach them to us by example.
Arguably, such a feat wasn’t and isn’t easily executed within the confines of state and federal law; yet Ms. Cain executed the move and executed it well. In a no-frills environment. Without new floors. Without new windows. Without new buildings. Without raised taxes for the community.
So how did the execution happen? I believe Ms. Cain pulled it all off by sticking to a group of the most basic Christian principles. One of her most poignant statements last week, in fact, demonstrates a commitment to recognizing the sanctity and value of each individual life:
America is hurting because of the lack of medical people, professors, teachers and a great number of people to fill vacancies left due to a generation of babies who were destroyed by abortion.
While educators cannot – and in my case did not – replace the nourishment gained in a loving home – Ms. Cain’s dedication to me as an individual underscored the encouragement and motivation I received at home to do my best work in every task I was given.
Discipline – a word too often avoided these days – was and is a necessary part of a child’s life at home and at school. Ms. Cain, however, seemed to know through common sense that in order for the goals of discipline to succeed and build a student’s character, those goals must, by definition, exceed the basic requirement of ensuring safety of staff and students and creating an environment conducive to learning. Ms. Cain provided us with preschool-appropriate discipline that both trained us toward habits of accountability and allowed us to experience Christ-like forgiveness. It seemed her desire to plant within us the seeds for growing into self-disciplined students.
Ironically, when I took in the words of her letter last week, I wasn’t surprised to find Ms. Cain tackling the issue of abortion head-on and doing a masterful job of it. The lady who penned that all-at-once loving and truth-filled letter is the very same Ms. Cain I remember.
It thrills me to know she’s still teaching valuable life-lessons to us all.
Copyright 2019, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.