L'Abri Journals...ACGray

Sept 2004

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I’d like to think when life is done

   That I had filled a needed post,

That here and there I’d paid my fare

   With more than idle talk and boast;

That I had taken gifts divine,

The breath of life and manhood fine,

And tried to use them now and then

In service for my fellow men.

                 Edgar A. Guest


Chalet L’Abri, September, 2004

Measuring My Days….acg


          Summer now drifts lazily into fall here in our latitudes.  The age-old telltale signs usher in the changing season as our side of the planet tips ever so surely away from the sun.   Quickly fading black-eyed susans in my garden backdrop and dramatize golden mums now in full glory.  The first of this season’s mottled giant size oak leaves begin to fall.  Crickets sing their plaintive dirges as the insect world prepares for a long hibernation.  September’s arrival and departure with its special message and meaning is sobering.

            These days I have been reading Bruce Feiler’s insightful and sometimes humorous book Learning to Bow – Inside the Heart of Japan.  An account of Feiler’s year spent as a teacher in a small Japanese town, the book had special interest for me because my Air Force tour of duty there was in rural Hokkaido and I had once attended a Japanese elementary school classroom when my friend Elaine Bean was invited to teach.  Reading the book reminded me again of the importance of my early school days and the teachers who enriched my “off to school days” with their dedication, knowledge, and wisdom.

            So in this season when ubiquitous yellow school buses are once more on the roads and slow my tempo, I am again mulling over how great a debt I owe my teachers, who imparted to me so much.  Evan Settle drummed algebra into my brain but was also a role model who thought it important to begin each day with reading the Bible and pledging allegiance to the flag.   Idamae Ditto who taught me bookkeeping and typing, insisted on accuracy and accountability.  Hazel Vaughan enriched me with her love and enthusiasm for poetry, music, and all the arts.  How much richer my life has been because George Ann Carpenter shared slides of her travels and set me to yearning for journeys to far away places with strange sounding names!  I honor them and teachers everywhere, but especially those who view their vocation as a calling to enrich and ennoble the minds of youth who will shoulder the responsibilities of tomorrow.  In the grand scheme of things eternal, great will be their reward.  Only honorable parenting exceeds teaching as the noblest profession of all.  From Richard Evans in his book Thoughts for One Hundred Days, comes these provocative thoughts about school days, teachers and parents:

          “Helpful and indispensable as they are, and grateful as we are for them, schools were not intended to take the place of parents, and teachers cannot reasonably be expected to do what parents have failed to do.  There are many essential things that must come from sound, sincere homes.  And there is no real way through any impersonal agency or institution that we as parents can impersonalize the personal responsibility which the Lord God has given us.”




The human soul is Christian in its nature.    Christianity is accepted by man as a reminiscence of something forgotten….This faith, far from being artificial, exceptional – inculcated by education – is in human nature;  we cannot do without it any more than birds that have lost their wings can fly.”   

                                                             Leo Tolstoi