I have been pondering two things I learned from my mother. I remember years ago I came to see my mother after taking a trip to Austria. I went into her second grade classroom with slides of my experience. My mother wanted them to have hands-on learning. Just as I was about to show the children what I saw and learned, something most unusual happened in Southeast Texas. It began to snow! The kids had never seen this white stuff falling from the sky. They looked outside standing on their tippy toes to see it all. My mother said, “Quick let’s go to the window!” They ran giggling all the way. She got a piece of black construction paper and she showed them the snowflakes. They held out their hands and felt it. She taught me to never lose our sense of wonder. We never got to my slides or my information. They needed to experience what was happening in the moment. That was the first day it snowed in years. There was no other chance that year for the children to see and touch and even taste the snow. She made snow ice cream with a little sugar and cream and snow. When the snow began to dissipate, she found pictures of snowflakes under a microscope. They were amazed at how different and beautiful each was.
I watched in awe as she matched their excitement with her own. Maybe you folks who see snow every year find it common place. Not so in the south. As I reflect back on that scene, I see an experienced teacher show a child the joy of learning. Scripture reminds us if we want to enter the kingdom of God, we have to come as a child. Matthew 18:3
Each child with different learning styles and each snowflake, unique and beautiful. Each of us with our different fingerprints, our exceptional DNA. Like my mother may I never fear science or lose a sense of wonder. As a metaphor, I celebrate being a snowflake, created one-of-a-kind.
I am grateful that the doctors who studied to operate on my niece when she was only a few days old were not afraid of science and understood cause and effect. I am surprised at the resistance I see to science in our country today. The Apostle Paul reminds us God has called us to transform our minds in Romans 12:2. For my mother’s love of knowledge, I am grateful.
Another day I recall dates back to my childhood in the country watching our chickens. My mother, always looking for a teaching moment, wanted me to understand the pecking order. Years later as she observed a group of people putting down another group, she said, “Remember the chickens? It is a pecking order. They want someone to be less than them.” She grew up very poor. Some in her family found racism a way of feeling better about themselves. That “lift” is short lived. She died this year, yet a few months before she died she noticed the pecking order is rampant in our country today. She remembered a quote by President Lyndon B. Johnson, that straight talking Texan, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Sad but true current commentary in our hostile and hate-filled climate.
For these 2 lessons from my mother, I am grateful: A SENSE OF WONDER and Awareness of the Pecking Order