"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."
Although no one would believe it now, when I was in Junior Primary, all those years ago, I was not the most well behaved child in my class. In school, I was a perfect little angel--always did my homework, helped other students, never got my name on the board--pretty much a teacher's pet. But during primary, especially class time, I was someone else.
I have vague memories of sitting on the floor in the corner of the classroom, surrounded by empty chairs and refusing to say anything other than, "Meow."
My agile little hands turned coloring pages and other handouts from the teacher into paper airplanes that I threw at the boys.
Perhaps my behavior had something to do with being a member of such a large family. I never felt forgotten or left out, but maybe I was seeking extra attention anyway.
I kept waiting for the teacher to threaten me the way she threatened the other kids: "If you don't behave I'm going to get you father." But she never did. Maybe she didn't realize that, although the threat of their fathers didn't seem to faze the other children, it scared me to death; whatever her reasons, she never brought my father into the classroom.
Most of my primary teachers' names and faces, as well as those early years in primary, have long since faded from my memory. After all, these days I struggle to remember my own children's names! But I remember that teacher. She was blond with curly hair and a round friendly face. Her name was Sister Clawson.
And I will never forgot the Sunday that she taught me, through her actions, that I was loved, despite my bad behavior and general obnoxiousness. That day was my birthday. I cannot recall how old I was, but I remember walking into primary, feeling the usual childlike excitement of a birthday, when I saw the small cake sitting on the table.
So we're having cake to celebrate my birthday! My excitement tripled, and I found it even harder than usual to pay attention to the lesson, with that round, white-frosted cake constantly invading my thoughts. Finally the lesson ended, and I waited for Sister Clawson to have the class sing to me, cut the cake and share it with the class.
We had our closing prayer and with little reluctant looks back toward the cake, my classmates began filing out to find their parents.
"Brenda. This is for you," Sister Clawson said as I turned to leave. And she handed me the entire cake. The whole cake was for me! I decided I must be pretty important to get the cake all to myself.
As I walked through the halls, holding my cake, everyone I saw looked on it with envy.
"Where'd you get that?"
"It's my birthday." I smiled.
Without a single lecture, without reporting my terrible behavior to my parents, Sister Clawson completely changed me. She taught me the most important lesson I needed to know--that I was loved. Knowing that, I was prepared to learn of the Lord.