Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Being There

Taraka is all grown up now, a university educated young lady. But a few years ago, she played basketball for me in middle school and I still pray for her regularly. Here is a story I wrote about her on September 23, 2007.

Every evening when I call my father in the nursing home, I tell him what happened during the day for me. Five times per week, this means reporting on life at school. Friday night, I told him about one of the girls on my basketball team and he informed me that she deserves for me to write about her. Knowing the Biblical references to Honor your father and mother, I am compelled to obey Dad. This is the story.

Early in the school year, my basketball team works primarily on skill and fundamental development, including a heavy dose of footwork. On Fridays, however, we play. On Fridays, I divide the kids up and we have a simulated game called Continuous Four On Four. It is played full court and if your team scores, you come back the other direction against a fresh defensive team. If you get a steal or rebound on defense, you come the other way as the new offensive team. The girls really like it because drills become boring and this game is very competitive. On the way to school Friday, I was mentally making up teams. I had to factor in one less girl because Taraka, one of my eighth graders, was undergoing an appendectomy that day. As I came down at 7:35 AM to prepare for first period workout which starts at 7:40, I wondered who who do Taraka's job of getting out the Hula Hoop when we stack it up. (See Hula Hoop Rules, 6-20-09.) As the girls huddled to pray, I looked up....and there stood Taraka! I was startled, asking if she wasn't still scheduled for surgery. This was Taraka's reply:

"I am but it isn't until three o'clock."
Take into account that Friday was an abbreviated day due to it being the end of the six weeks and that classes were only thirty minutes in duration instead of forty-six. Take into account that everyone expected Taraka to stay at home and focus on the surgery. Take into account whatever you will but when school started, Taraka was present and she completed the day as if it were any other. Some might argue that appendectomies are routine but I believe no surgery is routine, especially when it involves a child and especially when it involves you. I had hernia surgery more than a decade ago and I guarantee I didn't think it was routine when they put the IV drip in my arm to knock me out. Taraka appeared to be very calm throughout the day. She was prayed for, believe me.This is what I take out of the situation:
1. Taraka thinks school is important.
2. Taraka's parents think school is important.
Taraka is a terrific student, one of the best in my Bible classes. Last week, she was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. I don't have her younger brother, Terrell, in class but based on teacher comments, he is following in big sister's footsteps. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses was instructing the Israelites in the manner in which they should pass on the importance of the commandments:

"Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Let me paraphrase Moses: model the behavior the Lord wants in front of your kids. We imitate what is constantly before our eyes. Obviously, Taraka's folks think it's important for her to be in school if at all possible. Since Westbury Christian is a private school, Taraka's mother and father pay us to teach their youngsters. We don't give refunds when a child is absent. They want their money's worth. On Friday, there was no doubt they got it.

Applicable quote of the day:
"America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence, we must watch what we teach and how we live."
Jane Addams

PS: Please pray for Taraka to have a quick recovery!

God bless,
Steve/ Taraka's teacher and coach
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


AlexisStoryteller said...

I find it interesting that Friday was a short day and the surgery at 3 o' clock. That's pritty random.

I'm excited for your class tomorrow and hopefuly I'll remeber to show up... Jelly packets in hand.


Santana Vitales (Hey That's Me!) said...

Thank you for the follow! i am grateful, i look forward to following ur blog and being inspired!

litlit said...

Thank you so much for following my blog, teacher. I am now following yours too.