While teaching in Christian schools I liked to have a high standard for each student as they began to learn to write in manuscript.  I am sure that you all remember when you first began learning to form the letters you were expected to copy several lines of the example of the new letter you were learning.   Some of the first attempts of my students to form those letters were not that great, I would praise them for those I could give praise for and not be critical of all the letters but just pick some of the last few the student had written. Because it was common as the student continued,  the letters would begin to take on a different shape. I would remind them to always copy the example letter and not their own. I would choose a  few letters and ask the student to erase one or two and make it more like the first letter they were supposed to copy with a smile to remember not to copy their own letters, but always look at the example on the chalk board or in the text book.  If there was an improvement at all I would praise them or say, “Wow, you really worked hard on this”  and then I would have them continue.  Each time I corrected their work I would raise the standard always praising where I could.  Perhaps the child formed the letter in the wrong direction or in cursive the tail would be backward.  I would show them the reason for writing a certain direction and then showed them how much smoother it would flow if they wrote it in the correct direction.

Actually, one year I taught a class of 27 first graders in a Christian School that used Bob Jones materials which taught precursive to teach the alphabet, and I had to learn along with the students, how to form the letters as illustrated on the front of the bulletin.

Even a little girl with deformed fingers came to our Christian school, and somewhere along the line, previous instructors let her use a typewriter. It is hard as an instructor to insist on high expectations when a child is handicapped, but I also told her the story of my great, great Aunt Mary who taught school without hands at all and she had beautiful penmanship.  I brought her pictures to school and a sample of her penmanship and had a devotional about how the Lord can use you if you commit yourself to Him.

After a few days of pouting and stubbornness, my disabled student gradually began to make more attempts to do better.  Even my fellow teachers were a little leery of my strong stand and firmness with Amanda,  but by the end of the year, she had very nice handwriting. The pastor of our church school would see her running around on the playground on her heals and he would tell her that she was going to ruin her shoes. Ken was the principal at that time and he kindly took the pastor aside and explained that she had no toes – she had to use her heels!

When it came time for the Christmas program practice I approached her about doing the part of a rag doll in the Christmas program.  She looked just like a rag doll with footies on and just heels.   She did a beautiful job and sang a beautiful solo in the program.  By the end of the year, her parents and grand parents came to me and thanked me for the strong stand I took to help her succeed.

I believe that children need to be challenged and so do adults who are children in Christ. That is why I want to challenge you, ladies, to become more aggressive in evangelism, and outreach for this community.  Do you invite others to church or offer to bring them?  Have you ever led a person to Christ as their Saviour?  Challenge yourself to do what you know God wants you to do. We can all do better.

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