Almost 45 years ago, Lynda began her teaching career by student teaching kindergarten at the elementary school up the street from my parents’ house. We were not yet married and—in fact—my sister Carolyn was a student in the kindergarten classroom across the hall from Lynda’s room.
Except for the years when our daughter Elizabeth was a baby or a preschooler, Lynda taught elementary students. She frequently served as a math specialist teaching children who needed extra assistance.
Her whole career, Lynda was concerned with her appearance. To her colleagues, her students, and her students’ parents, she wanted to look professional.
I’m mindful of this today because this afternoon two of her “teaching buddies” came to the condo and helped me go through all of her clothing. All afternoon, while sorting and folding the clothes, they would say: “Oh, I remember this one!”
There were a few really dressy items—like the dress and shoes she wore to Elizabeth’s wedding.
There were many school T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans—what someone else might call “house clothes.”
But it was the clothes she wore when teaching (mostly Chico ‘s brand) that I remembered most intimately.
And her shoes.
I’ve always been amazed by the number of pair of shoes that women seem to need. (I get by with only four pair—black dress shoes, burgundy penny loafers, boat shoes, and Nikes.)
But as I gathered her clothes in preparation for our work today, it was her “teaching shoes” that stayed on my mind.
They were mostly “flats” that could be easily worn with slacks or long skirts—as was her style. She would spend most of each school day on her feet…so they had to be comfortable.
She was always worrisome when a student in her classroom didn’t have good shoes or warm clothing.
I would regularly return home from my volunteer work at a children’s clothing ministry at our church with large trash bags filled with donated clothing that our clothing ministry couldn’t use. Lynda and I would sit on our living room floor and sort the very best of these items. The next day, she would take small bags of clothing to school and give to deserving students she had spotted. She occasionally had a pair of shoes she would offer.
For the last several hours, I’ve been thinking about the miles of walking done by these school teacher shoes. They carried Lynda through the morning darkness from her car to her classroom. They accompanied students to the restroom, the cafeteria, the gym—and occasionally to the principal ‘s office! And they took her to countless after-school teacher’s meetings.
But whatever their style and wherever they went, they were always on the job of helping students.
When I think of Lynda wearing these shoes, I’m reminded of Romans 10:15: how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news (NIV).
Join me in dreaming about about a group of new, younger teachers who will receive some of Lynda’s shoes.
And give thanks that these shoes will help them walk lovingly into the lives of students as Lynda did.