"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Marvelous Mrs. M


By Micky Wolf


A hint of a southern drawl most surely emanates from the Heavenlies as the Marvelous Mrs. M addresses a diverse group of youthful souls who share her company. Her voice and manner brightened many days of my senior year in high school. Her personality and demeanor were as contrasting to those of Ms. R as a tropical mid-day sun to a three-scoop cone, yet each woman imparted special gifts to the students seated in front of them.

Mrs. M did indeed talk softly and carry a big heart. She had an innate sense of knowing exactly what each of her students needed in order to learn and thrive. We are truly blessed if we can recall having at least one teacher imbued with these qualities. 

Over the many years since I last set foot in my old high school, there have been occasions when something triggered a picture of Mrs. M in my mind’s eye. I hope she knows how many of us are better women and men because of her compassionate presence as well as her instruction. Reflecting upon her impact on my life, it has become clear that who she was as a person directly influenced the way she taught.

There have been numerous stories in recent years of educators who inspired and encouraged their students. In the case of Mrs. M, you will likely never find an image of her in a text book, nor will her life be portrayed in a movie. However, what she gave to all who knew her were a few basic but powerful tools to discover our uniqueness and purpose in this world. She also knew full well that not everyone would utilize those tools, which she simply accepted as part of the process. In many ways, she was ahead of her time, which lends more credence to the lessons she lived for us by her example.

Mrs. M never spoke about God or being a Christian as far as I can recall—and that was in the days when the G-word had not been cast out of the classroom and various other public places.  Even as our relationship grew into friendship following graduation, she was not one to engage in ‘religious’ talk. I didn’t think much about it at the time but now it makes a lot of sense. Why? A life lived as a Godly person speaks volumes, far beyond the confines of mere words and language.

So, on behalf of the Marvelous Mrs. M:

1.      Be yourself—and if you are not sure what that means, take the time to find out. 

2.   Focus on your strengths and gifts—with the intention to develop them in service to others.

3.     Accept your flaws—but do not give them the power to derail the best in you.

4.  Be generous with what you have—whether money, a helpful skill, or physical presence, everyone has bounty from which to share with those in need.

5.     Try something new—engage in adventure. Allow your five senses to be stirred by new sounds, tastes, smells, sights, textures. Open your heart to thinking from a different perspective. Take a risk and feel emotions long suppressed or simply ignored.

I will always be grateful for having had Mrs. M as a classroom teacher. I was even more blessed, later in life, with the numerous occasions we could get together and enjoy and appreciate one another—which, by the way, shed light on maybe the most important lesson she lived by—always remember to part from one another in kindness. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. 

“Now y’all, take care of yourselves and one another, ya hear me?”

You got it Mrs. M.

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