Sweetest thing happened today.
My little curly-headed rebel (I use the term affectionately) found out one of the many stupid choices I made during my academy years.
His eyes widened and his jaw dropped into the cutest look of incredulity I've seen to date.
"You're a bad girl, Miss Beth??"
"Well..I've never been one to follow rules because I was told to, if that's what you mean."
"I-I-I thought you were a goody-two-shoes cause you're so quiet and you always wear a long skirt and like read your Bible and stuff."
(Have I mentioned how much I love the candid open-ness of teenagers?)
Before the conversation was over, he knew me a lot better. I told him that, yes, I'd spent much of my life hating the rules, misunderstanding the reasons, believing everything was stupid, and making a lot of bad choices; but I also told him there was nothing down that road. I had tried to "be my own person" but ended up just making choices that hurt other people. I told him about how true freedom (the real way to "be your own person") is found in choosing the right and fences are for protection. I told him there is nothing in the pleasures and fun of the world that holds a candle to Jesus.
He listened. He didn't blow it off like I've seen him do so many times. He apologized twenty times for misunderstanding me.
Before my next class began, as I put my things in order on the podium, I looked up to see his black curls bobbing through the door. Sidling up to me, he put his arm around me in a quick squeeze. "Miss Beth? I just want you to know I love you."
And I realize once again what a gift it is to know pain.
I've regretted the rebellion and rued the pain that caused it. But God has worked them both alike for the good.
The one is best equipped to help his brother through the rough place in the way who has first been there himself.
It is sweet to know, yet again, that my loving Jesus brings beauty out of the ashes of our lives.
"Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy." (Streams in the Desert, 1/18)
* * *
Everybody talked in speech class today! I don't know if it was because we were going over the section they had read in Counsels to Speech and Song or if they're just warming up to me. I did Eugene Prewitt-style, "So what do you remember from your reading?" and they just yakked away.
I was warmed to see their responses to their reading. Some of the toughest hearts in the class were sharing how the words had hit them just where they needed it.
It is getting easier to prepare classes. I feel like I'm slipping into the groove a little better.
Showing speech videos is making its mark. They're getting natural at picking out the good and bad things the speaker is doing, and the framework of a good speech.
Our business office manager has been begging to come and teach the seniors how to do a resume. I think that's a great idea, and I'm going to work it in by having him do it as a demonstration speech. I'll have the kids analyze his presentation just like they do the videos. He has the perfect personality to handle it. I asked him also to tell them about ways that good speaking skills are needed in the business world. He has worked for years in one of the top auditing firms in the nation and has lots of experience. I'm hoping that will inspire them to put something into improving their speaking skills.
They have been honest with me that the only reason they're even taking the class is because its a requirement to graduate and they just don't care about it.
Well. I aim to give them something to care about!