Dedicated to Pamela Howard, of Griffin High School

I once had a teacher – one of great faith. She walked the walk and talked the talk and her heart was pure gold. Pam Howard was my social studies teacher and morning devotional sponsor at Griffin High School. In time, I graduated and went onto my own teaching career – and my mother came up to Griffin High School and became department chair. To this day, she states Mrs. Howard was one of her greatest blessings (and most amazing teacher) of the department.

What my mother didn’t know until she met Mrs. Howard was her love of Proverbs. Mrs. Howard would always quote Proverbs to me – and as I got older and attended seminary, I realized the woman was onto something. For example, tonight, I was very frustrated with my son’s choice to do something – and demanded he change that decision. It’s still being debated, but an appropriate verse of Proverbs 21:23 of “Whoever keeps his mouth and and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

The teenager wasn’t guilty of violating that Proverb – I was. I read what he was thinking (he posted it) and I banged on his bedroom door – at 3 AM – with the determined step of a suffragette – but one with anger in her tone. Choice of words – oh boy. It took two hours and a 5 AM sit down with the stepfather to figure out a pathway – with much thought and planning.

Transition is hard with a young man – it’s not easier on the parents, trust me.

“Well, someone had to be the antagonist,” was my son’s response. I was the antagonist. Ouch. I will say I educated him well.

I was thrown back into my brain of reviewing Proverbs and the way we humans use our tongues – be it for confrontation or the need to keep silent. I realized I got some more work to do on me, at the age of 45.

My favorite comment Mrs. Howard once made, “Think before you speak – it’ll save you a mountain of trouble, Anne.” That may not have been a Proverb, but it may be something I embrace in this transitional days ahead in dealing with family dynamics!

In short, edit in  your brain before words come out forever – because once said, you can’t take them back. I didn’t do anything that bad tonight – but I could have approached the situation more rationally and utilizing Proverbs! I will next time!

Get your Proverbs on! Proverbs 4:23 – Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life


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