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I could not identify any of the disruptors by name, and about now, I doubt by sight I’d be any better.

I only know that as I was concluding my public speaking class on Friday to a group of homeschooled high school kids in the choir room of Bethany Baptist, the next period’s homeschooled choir kids sprang through the door and announced my class was over.

“The bell’s rung. You guys need to leave,” someone shouted.

Someone else tripped over a chair; a few laughed and more milled through the door joking at a volume reserved for a touchdown or a soccer goal.

My own voice raised as I gave final speech instructions. It rose again when I realized no one heard me.

As my class shuffled out the door, I wondered if I hadn’t experienced more respect as a teacher in the years I taught in the public schools.

But I caught myself.

Because really, there are good kids everywhere.

And the problems that surface are often kids reflecting what they’ve learned at home and on TV, from movies and from other kids as misguided as themselves.  Kids mirror their relationship with their parents.

To whatever degree that is.

I spoke with the choir teacher who was equally disappointed.  She’d e-mail the parents, she said.

And she must have.

Beginning on Saturday morning, notes from parents crossed my computer.  Parents were mortified.  Embarrassed.  Was it their child?  Would I please contact them by phone or by e-mail.

And I realized that for all the fair or unfair comparisons between public ed and homeschooling that there really was a difference in  the two.

It lay in parental response.  In this single experience, no homeschooling parent condoned his kid’s behavior.  No one questioned my ability as a teacher with an f-bomb.  No one sought a meeting with the “superintendent.”

This morning another note came.  It was marked “apology.”  It began…

Hello Mrs. Munson,

This is the “tall blond kid” from choir…

By the end of the note, my lips had risen in a smile.  These things take guts.  They take responsibility, too.

Sometimes they take involved parents.

And sometimes…

Sometimes a lifetime of prayer.


2 Responses to “Train a Child in the Way He Should Go”

  1. Jeanne, my husband retired from being a High School principal within the public school arena. I could tell you stories that would “Curl” your hair. Such remorse and apologies
    from children is rare indeed and brings an air of refreshment for sure. Thanks for being a part of teaching our children to be productive citizens as well as mathmaticians and scientists :0) Carolyn

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