Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6). …from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2Ti 3:15).
Note: I first published this almost ten years ago, under the Good Morning series. I needed to visit Alpine again.
──Alpine Elementary School──
In September, 1940 I rode a yellow bus to the above almost-new public school building built by the WPA. There, I began my “higher education” in the first grade, taught by Miss Hattie Brown. There were two grades per room. I already knew all the letters on the baking powder can and lard bucket in the kitchen at home, except for Z and maybe Q.
The next year I was promoted to the other side of the room and we had a new teacher, Miss Vaughn. She wrote John 3:16 on the blackboard and we recited it every morning before we prayed together. After Christmas, we began John 3:17. That second year, we shared our space with ruffians from the Wilder coal mining area up on Cumberland Mountain. Believe you me, THEY really needed John 3:16! Miss Vaughn knew that and took it to heart.
Miss Vaughn played the first piano I ever heard--- in the lunch room, every week to begin chapel. She played hymns with gusto and we sang with her. The lunch room was at the end of the walk, up the steps and through the double doors above.
We were not supposed to carry pocket knives in the second grade, but most of the boys did and some of them were from Wilder. I closed a new Christmas knife on my own finger which drew a lot of blood and I carried the scar for forty years. But, we didn’t cut each other. Mumbley Peg was one of my favorite games at recess and you had to have your own knife to be your best at that game. (Check it out on Google.)
If parents sent their children to school with tobacco, they could smoke down at the privy during lunch. The rest of us also smoked down at the privy if we could get hold of some tobacco and rollin’ paper. Most of us got our paper from a brown paper sack. The brown paper may have been more harmful than the tobacco. Strong stuff! The success of the mission depended on one boy in the bunch having “a” match and the match had to strike into a flame! So many boys smoked at age 6 and 7 that smoking was not a test of manhood.
The test of manhood was chewing a “chaw of backer” without throwing up. I tried a “chaw of backer” and leaned up against the wall between the two windows above and chewed with vigor to show myself a man in front of the older boys. The wall and the sky became unstable. I slid down the wall and my stomach urged me toward the ball field behind the camera in this photo. I learned a lot “on the other side of the ball field.” I left that part of our culture to the “professionals” in the fourth grade.
We repeated the two verses above and listened to Bible stories and good classic stories for children. We all learned John 3:16,17 without much trying. The Monthly Memory verse and Bible Reading at the bottom of Morning Minute are a pass-along from Miss Vaughn. Blame her if you happen to become addicted to reading and memorizing Bible verses and it changes your life. We last saw Mabel, her sister, ten years ago, who would now be about 100.
When we teach children the Word of God, it may go to their hearts and guide their lives. It might even inspire them to call on the Lord and become a Christian and citizen of Heaven, and they may teach their children and their children may…. It’s not a sure-fire thing. They may grow up to be mean as the devil, but as a whole, a well-taught child will be a well-lived adult. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 23, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. Josh 9-10 P.M. Luke: 3
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Let the words of my mouth, and meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
Song for Today:
Through It All (3:45) – (Carroll Roberson)
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