Perhaps society always needs a little reminding to appreciate, value, and honor mothers and teachers!
How appropriate in May to write about teachers and mothers in the same column. A mother is a child’s first teacher! Mothers are honored this month with a special day. Teachers are finishing up another school year. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to many high school and college graduates as well as their families and teachers! No way can the influence of a mother or a teacher be fully expressed. Share your stories with your families this month! Home is where your story begins! Honoring all mothers and all teachers, here are a few stories.
In a stirring radio address May 7th, 1983 Ronald Reagan said: “In our families, and often from our mothers, we first learn about values and caring and the differences between right and wrong. Those blessed with loving families draw our confidence from them and the strength we need to face to the world. We also first learn at home about the God who will guide us through life.”
My love for reading was inspired by my mother. Mother read to me. She will be 95 in June but I remember sitting in her lap while she rocked and read to me! I can still recite many of those Mother Goose rhymes and the poems in Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I love the verses still; the rhythm and rhyme of the former and the imagery and beauty of the latter! Bible story books planted memorable Bible people in my mind and heart. Later I read to my children and grandchildren those books but also the verses and adventures of A. A. Milne’s characters, Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin and the delightful characters of Kenneth Grahame in The Wind in the Willows.
Reading, the Key
Mrs. Tucker Key was my first grade teacher. I know the names of each of my teachers, Grades One through Twelve! I practiced marching to “Pomp and Circumstance” from Kentwood High School and Mississippi State College for Women. When the time came for my third graduation at the University of New Orleans, I was stunned by the announcement, “There will be no rehearsal. Just show up at the appointed time in your cap and gown.”
When I asked the question, “Why not?” I was told, “If you can read, you can graduate!” Well, thanks to Mrs. Key, I could read. So I graduated again!
Influence of a Mother
We made the winding ride up a California mountain-side to tour the lovely ranch-mission-style structure housing the Presidential Library and Museum of Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s Air Force One is housed in a 90,000 square foot Pavilion. Outside is a large section of the Berlin Wall and pots of hibiscus and roses gracing the grounds.
Inside my eyes focused on one small display on the side of a room holding an open Bible.
Reagan’s Mother’s Bible was open with a margin notation in Nelle’s handwriting by Second-Chronicles 7:14. I turned my head sideways to read the words in pencil: “The most wonderful verse in the healing of the nation. Nelle”
Nelle Clyde Wilson Reagan (1885-1962) had underlined the last four words of the Scripture: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
When Ronald Reagan was sworn in as 40th President of the United States, he used the worn leather Reagan family Bible. In his stirring 1983 Mother’s Day radio address, Reagan said: “My mother, Nelle, made all those marks in that Bible. She used it to instruct her two young sons, and I look to it still.”
“The quote on the Resolute or Hayes desk in the Oval Office was one his mother Nelle, used to say to her son: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
Another evidence of his mother’s influence is a Lucite plaque with the signature of his mother and the saying:
“‘Thought for today: YOU CAN BE TOO BIG FOR GOD TO USE, BUT YOU CANNOT BE TOO SMALL. ~ Nelle”
Teachers and Mothers
So congratulations to all mother-teachers and teacher-mothers! Closing with Reagan’s words:
“Let us recognize the enormous strengths and contributions of women, wives, and mothers. Let’s always remember, reward, and recognize the mothers (and I would add, teachers) and use their examples of love and courage as inspiration to be better than we are!”
Happy Mother’s Day, Mississippi Moms! Happy Summer everyone!