Let’s Start Over

I hated math, but I loved my 10th grade geometry teacher. Her many years in the classroom honed her teaching skills while slowly salting her black hair with gray. More than any other teacher, Dorothy (Dot) Peterson influenced my desire to become a teacher. She also greatly affected the way I interacted with my students. She became my pattern, and I am thankful she set such a high standard.

Mrs. Peterson followed three rules that every teacher worth her salt must follow: be firm, fair, and friendly. She taught complex concepts, but broke each one down into manageable, bite-size pieces. She was just as concerned with conduct as with curriculum. Those who chose to misbehave got a Pat-Summit-style stare-down that put an end to most shenanigans. Yet, her style of humor made us all smile. When she made a mistake, she admitted it. If ever our class didn’t score well on a test, she spouted off words that I later adopted with my classes: “Where there has been no learning, there has been no teaching. Let’s start over.” She didn’t blame us, call us names, or make us feel inferior like other teachers I had. She took the blame and retaught the lesson in a different way.

For a girl who struggled with numbers, having a teacher who didn’t want anyone to get left behind was like a cool, sweet breeze on a hot, stinky day. I was always thankful that I had been assigned to her class. Hers was the only math class I ever sat in that allowed me to relax, make mistakes, and actually learn something. As a result, I got geometry, but algebra … well, she didn’t teach algebra.

I wonder if our generation of young people feel like they can relax, make mistakes, and learn when older folks call them lazy, entitled, and self-centered. When I hear that, I want to snap back with, “Where there has been no learning, there has been no teaching! So, Let’s start over!” Maybe all of us older ones could take some time to shift our focus. 

I had a school counselor tell me that the reason the father of a boy I was mentoring wouldn’t discipline his son was because he was just like him. The father didn’t think he had the right to tell the boy “no” when he had done the same kinds of things. Because the father had no one to teach him, he had nothing to teach his son. As Jesus followers, no matter our family dynamic we have three Master Teachers with us at all times. Our Father God teaches us through His written Word. Jesus taught us best by being what He wants us to become. The Holy Spirit continually teaches and encourages us in every way. 

If I HAD to choose just one trait to instill in this entire generation (young and old), it would be an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude shifts our focus. Instead of fixating on ourselves and all the wrong around us, we fix our eyes on Jesus and all that is excellent and praiseworthy. Expressing our gratitude to God and to others increases our joy, invites sleep, lessens stress, deepens our relationships, and helps regulate our behavior. In other words, gratitude makes the world a better place!

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, coach, or teacher, you have young people in your life. Give them boundaries; they actually want them. Teach them right from wrong; they don’t always know the difference. Pray for and with them. Spend time with them. Be who you want them to become. But by all means, express your gratitude for all that God has done in YOUR life and for all you see Him doing in theirs; they might not see it yet. 

As for the young ones you have no influence over yet, pray for them and their families. Be prepared and available. Be firm, fair, and friendly. When God opens an unexpected door, you just might hear the Spirit whisper, “There has been no teaching, so … let’s start over.”

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Put into practice the example of all that you have heard from me or seen in my life and the God of peace will be with you in all things.” (Philippians 4:6-9, TPT)

Posted in
a photo of a triangular ruler and a compass

Donna Jackson

Constantly Beginning Again

By Donna Jackson | January 25, 2023 |

Maybe you remember that 80’s TV show “The A-Team”. It depicted the antics of a wrongly-accused special forces squad who escaped military prison to become a team of do-good vigilantes. Every week, when victory was in sight, their fearless leader Hannibal would find the time to smile and declare, “I love it when a plan…

Beginning Again and Again

By Donna Jackson | January 17, 2023 |

Growing up, some called me a tomboy. I didn’t particularly like that label, but I did enjoy ripping and romping outside. I constantly pushed the limits of gravity and physics. I have many scars to prove my reckless ways and could entertain you for hours with stories linked to each one; but I’ll spare you…

Beginning Again

By Donna Jackson | January 10, 2023

As a new teenager, thoughts of driving a car often spurred my imagination. I couldn’t wait to slide behind the wheel and go wherever I wanted – all by myself. At night, when I laid my body down, I would close my eyes, picture my two hands on the wheel, and almost feel the wind…

Beginnings

By Donna Jackson | January 3, 2023

Going anywhere with my granddaddy Russie (his real name was Russell) painted a big smile on my face. I didn’t care where we went, I just wanted to go. I especially liked going with him to the Sears and Roebuck store. They had everything anyone could possibly want, but most importantly they had a candy…

Life on Instant Replay

By Donna Jackson | December 20, 2022

I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that I shouldn’t be so hesitant about sharing my most life-changing Jesus story. I can finally admit that my hesitation to share it comes from knowing how I would have received it several years ago. I would have thought it to be a fanciful tale birthed out…

Touched

By Donna Jackson | December 13, 2022

Surely, he felt more and more lonely and rejected as the days crawled by. After all, his skin disease had no cure. He and the other lepers who had been sentenced to life outside the city existed inside a vat of hopeless desperation. Life as he knew it changed the day that nasty spot first…

Wringing Out the Good

By Donna Jackson | December 6, 2022

My grandchildren will tell you that whenever you learn something new it has been a good day. I enjoy learning, especially when it comes to Scripture. No matter how many times I read through those thin pages, I always see something I’ve never noticed before. New situations and experiences can open our hearts and minds…

Used Up and Refilled

By Donna Jackson | November 29, 2022

For these next few weeks leading up to Christmas we’ll focus on a few of the miracles of Jesus. This week I decided to rework an old post that I had so much fun writing. I love viewing familiar events from different perspectives. I pray this allegory helps you discover your own hidden meaning.  …

I’m Sorry

By Donna Jackson | November 22, 2022

Those who know me best know my love for movie quotes. Since Ron loves me, he’s learned to “speak movie” with me. He and I often challenge one another by quoting lines from our favorite movies just to see if the other one can respond with the next correct line or at least identify the…

Don’t Lose Heart

By Donna Jackson | November 15, 2022

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJ) It’s so easy to begin an exciting new project or season of life with enthusiasm, isn’t it? We wear broad smiles as we work passionately to get things off the…