I was sitting at my desk at work today, sorting the mountain of papers I have accumulated during this project. As I reached for the folder I’ve started organizing them in, I had a flashback. A flashWAYback, if you will, all the way to 1990. My 7th Grade year.
Picture me, in a too-tiny-for-me-but-I-love-it-anyway desk, somewhere in the far corner of the room. It was my own little corner. (Because the other one was occupied most of the year by someone else, equally as ornery as I). I don’t really remember how or why I ended up in the corner, but if I had to venture a guess, I’d say it was probably for running my mouth. I was a smart aleck in 1990, too.
Shocking, I know.
But in the corner I sat, every day, for the vast majority of that school year. Most likely griping under my breath because it was no doubt an injustice in my 12yo mind. Just like the things that rotten teacher expected me to do. Horrible, torturous things you can’t even imagine. Like keep a daily journal, or write in a poetry notebook, or keep track of my daily assignments in a……….folder.
Those darn folders were the bane of my existence. I was terrible about keeping them updated because, quite frankly, I thought they were a waste of time. Something she must have dreamed up in one of those “creative ways to torture your students” brainstorming sessions with all the other rotten teachers who had it out for us. I’d argue with her until I was blue in the face, and she was probably ready to choke me until it went from blue to a nice shade of purple. We butted heads equally as hard over the journal. I was sure she hated me.
But then something happened. Possibly something miraculous and earth changing. More likely something involving me, you know, growing up. But something. That part I’m sure of.
Seventh grade ended and 8th grade began. 8th became 9th, then one day I dozed off and woke up in college. And there, in my backpack, as I trekked across the campus, sat my folders. Organized just as she had taught me. Maybe not quite up to her standards, but they were there nonetheless. Now today I find myself sitting in a high rise building, smack in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City, at my desk, at my dream job….with my folders keeping it all together, just like they did in 1990.
I have to chuckle every time I realize those folders have resurfaced in my life. Now I have kids of my own, one of which totally inherited my lack of organizational skills, and I have found myself telling him, “Lord I hope Mrs. Dunn is still teaching when you get to 7th Grade. She may be your only hope, child.”
Of course he just rolls his eyes. Because mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Just like that rotten teacher way back when. But one day, years from now, should he be lucky enough to have had her for a teacher, he’ll be just as excited as I am to run into her at the local fair, or in Walmart, or wherever it may be, because she’ll be “The One”. The one who taught him to keep it all together, to be responsible, diligent, and respectful, and to stick it out and power through those things you don’t like because maybe, just maybe, they’re shaping your life.