Thursday, February 23, 2012
Tommy and the Congressman!
Tommy was enrolled in a wonderful class first semester through one of our local homeschool co-ops. It was a class on Manners taught by the fabulous Sandy Scott.
This was my first experience with this co-op and with this teacher, but I have been so pleased.
Sandy is one of those teachers that keeps the bar high and maintains high, yet realistic expectations of her students. She also spoils them terribly (in a good way) when it comes to rewarding positive outcomes.
In Manners, she instructs the students to write a list each week of the ways they have incorporated appropriate manners in their lives that week. When the students arrive at class and have this list, signed by their parent, they are allowed to reach into the "Prize Bag". This bag was not filled with the normal chintzy gumball machine type stuff. No! It was filled with quality toys and giant sized boxes of candy, stickers, school supplies... Serious, high dollar goodies that really spoke to the importance of the required task. And what I think I appreciated the most was, if the child forgot his list, or did not have it signed, or in any way did not meet his obligations, guess what?
They DID NOT get anything from the bag.
You might have guessed that I am a bit disgusted at the way our society has made it OK to be:
or just generally irresponsible.
So often, we get chance after chance or even worse, just get rewarded because people are afraid to tell us no. Afraid to draw a line or raise the bar of expectation. What a disservice that does for our children- my child- your child.
OK, sermon over.
Now, that brings us to today.
Mrs. Scott "Mrs. Manners" to her students, made arrangements to invite
United States Congressman
to speak to all her writing and manners students about the importance of Etiquette, Writing and Faith in their lives.
So, today we had the pleasure of hearing from Congressman Tim Scott.
Tim was born and raised about 3 blocks from where we were meeting today in North Charleston. He was wonderful with the students and easily put them all at ease with his humor and charm.
Well, today was certainly no different. He was silly and charming and pleasantly genuine. That's right I said it.
A genuine politician.
He shared many things today, but what resonated loud and clear was his faith in an Almighty God. He freely shared with these students and their families that he was nothing before he found the Lord and was headed nowhere!
He describes his childhood as a very hard one. He grew up with a mom who tried to teach him the right things, but who often met the resistance of a head strong boy with no direction in life.
He readily admitted to failing classes in the 9th grade and barely getting his act together in time to actually graduate.
He shared with these children that every decision he makes in Congress is passed through the lens of scripture.
He said, "The World depends on the people of God!" He stressed that it is not the Republican leadership, nor the Democrats in office that will save us from our current situation, but that it will be God and His people that will need to rise up and affect change.
He went on to say,
"If you forget everything else that I've shared with you today, remember this: The 'Good Book' is the most important book, living, breathing document that has ever existed. If you will immerse yourself in it, you will find all the answers you will ever need."
Do I hear an Amen? A.M.E.N!
Once his talk was over, he opened the floor for questions.
Pre-arranged, was the opportunity for several students to ask questions of Congressman Scott. Mrs. Manners chose several students from her classes to represent the others in asking questions.
One of those students was our Tommy!
His assignment was to think of a question related to Manners and then be prepared to ask this in front of the crowd. Now, Tommy is by no means what I would classify as a "shy" child. Not even close. However, he is a bit timid in new situations and in front of large crowds.
He once said to me that he had "the stage fright". It sounded a bit like a respiratory infection! LOL
Even though he was hesitant to do this, we pushed him to participate and do his best.
As it turned out, it was Tommy's question, or to be more precise, the answer to Tommy's question, that had the whole crowd in stitches laughing!
In fact, the Congressman got so tickled with his own answer to the question that he needed a tissue to wipe the tears from his eyes. He was laughing so hard he totally lost his composure for a while.
Now, as I said, it wasn't really that question itself that broke up the crowd.
Tommy simply asked,
"Representative Scott, How do you handle situations in your work when others do not demonstrate good manners toward you?"
Now, I certainly was not thinking that this question was going to catch him off guard, but it actually did for a moment.
It was as if he was scrambling in his head for a polite, yet truthful, way to answer the question. He has such an infectious and child-like grin and you could see the wheels spinning. (Oh how I wish I could have videotaped this whole exchange!!!)
He basically said (and I am paraphrasing here) that there were times when others were so aggressive in their opposing positions in Congress that he felt he needed to be equally as aggressive.
Now remember, that he is in front of an audience of home school families.
Christian home school families.
So, as he searched for the truthful and appropriate words, he began to chuckle at himself. And one laugh followed another and within seconds, the whole audience is caught up in this laughter and he is looking for a tissue to wipe his eyes!
He even said at one point, "Tommy, I just can't lie to you...I don't always handle that well. I think that this question is going to be on my mind for the rest of the week!"
Once he regained his composure, he finished answering the questions presented to him and we were dismissed into the fellowship hall for some wonderful cake and punch. We were allowed to take pictures in there, so here we go!
Is it bad that I start with pictures of the food?
I need to get the name of the Cake Baker, because the food was wonderful and looked great too!
Ok, now on to the family...
The Congressman's office provided some neat gift bags for the students and their siblings that included a certificate of commendation
as well as a book on all the USA Flags and some other neat educational materials.
It was a delightful morning and I was glad that my sons were able to hear from a man with such a heart for the Lord.
A big thanks to Sandy Scott for arranging such a memorable experience for our children.