The History Teacher
Trying to protect his students’ innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.
And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of the time.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
“How far is it from here to Madrid?”
“What do you call the matador’s hat?”
The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom
The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak
and the smart,
mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses,
while he gathered up his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.
Two-term Poet Laureate (2001-2003)
What will the history teachers teach the children in the future about the now? Who will make the difference about this 2020 First Day of School? How will this first day of school be remembered by our children? Who will be the heroes?
Will it be the parents?
Facebook , Instagram, and even Twitter have many postings about the hope and the fear of this dreaded day of sending our children where we can’t protect them. Will they gather their children and pray as a family for safety?
Will they say there was great excitement about new clothes and that perfect book bag smelling of pens, pencils and paper? Will fear be packed inside? Or will courage, caution, and hope be the tools that the children use to get them through this day?
Will the children of the future point to the old fashioned, one-dimension pictures of smiling children, frozen and posted on Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter; unlike the holograms of their own first day of school? Will their reference point be the 2020 legacy that is combined with the object of God’s grace?
Will they know the frozen photos were taken by parents who are smiling and happy, glowing with pride while praying for the safety of their children. Will they know the parents are disguising their own fear as they remind the children to wear their masks correctly and to please use the hand sanitizer in the bag. “Please God, let them remember.”
Will the teachers change their teaching methods into games that make social distancing a fun thing and handwashing a part of music class?
Will the teachers hide their own fear as they look into the eyes of the children under their care on this first day of school and do what teachers do—inspire the future?
Will the children of the future believe this rambling mystery of a virus long defeated was designed to make them nod off?
Let that be our hope.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
KJV Philippians 4:6-7