Let Them Teach You
On September 19th, 2020 we brought home a tiny baby boy from the Cedar City hospital. The drive home was peaceful, and a quiet excitement filled the car. Jake and I were so proud. I remember getting settled on the couch in the front room. Jake lifted Hank from the car seat and handed him to me.
I laid him on my lap looking at his fingers and toes and softly rubbing his head and dark hair. His dark lashes and beginnings of tiny eyebrows stood in contrast to his clear skin.
He was beautiful.
In the quiet excitement I felt a strong desire to teach him all I knew. I wanted to tell him about his family, about his home.
I wanted to tell him about God.
The desire to teach him and tell him was so strong it was heavy.
Jake sat beside me. He handed me a blue envelope addressed to the two of us.
A sweet friend of mine in my little hometown had written us a kind note of encouragement and congratulations. Inside she included a handwritten copy of a poem given to her when her first son was born.
As a family of three we read Carol Lynn Pearson’s “My Day Old Child”.
My day old child in my arms
with my lips against his ear
I whispered strongly "How I wish,
I wish that you could hear,
"I've a hundred wonderful things to say
(A tiny cough and nod)
Hurry, hurry, hurry and grow
so I can tell you about God."
My day old baby's mouth was still
and my words only tickled his ear,
but a kind of light passed through his eyes,
and I saw this thought appear,
"How I wish I had a voice and words,
I've a hundred things to say,
Before I forget, I'd tell you of God,
I left Him yesterday."
I left Him yesterday.
The heavy feeling vanished.
The Spirit whispered, "Let him teach you".
The past ten months with Hank have put Jake and I in a sacred, sweet, and fun classroom. Hank is the teacher, and he teaches us something new every day.
Shortly after Hank was born, I received a new assignment to teach at the institute. I felt a similar pressure and overwhelm to teach and to tell. The Spirit whispered to me,
“Let them teach you”.
So, I did.
My classroom changed.
A few weeks into that assignment, I received an anonymous compliment from a student. They said, “She wants to learn from her students, not just teach them”.
I really do.
My dad passed on some advice given to him when he was a young teacher. He said, “Don’t ever forget how it feels to sit in those desks”.
I hope I don’t.
Jake and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this winter. As I look back on the past five years, I am amazed at what Jake has taught me.
I have a lot to learn. That keeps me humble.
To my day-old child, my 10-month-old baby, my Jake, my students, and everyone in between, thank you for what you teach me. I think that is why I’m so happy.
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My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!