By Lorry Myers
When I accepted the principal’s invitation to speak, I thought, “How hard can it be?” How hard can it be to motivate Middle Schoolers before a big test! I eagerly said yes, then, quickly began to doubt myself. Why would a gymnasium full of pre-teens want to hear anything I had to say? I have no trouble writing words on paper.
Speaking them is something else.
I called Mom, my go-to-person, and confided that I was nervous. She quietly listened to my doubts finally cutting me off with a sound of
“Good grief. If you want those young people to listen, tell them what they need to hear. Walk through the door like you walk through life,” my mother told me.
Again. I don’t remember the first time Mom said this. Maybe it was before a spelling bee or a science project or some other childhood pressured filled event. As far back as my memories go, I can hear my mother say, “Walk through the door like you walk through life.” She never clearly defined what that meant, she just assumed her children were smart enough to know.
Most of them anyway. So, I began watching my mother walk through doors. When she walks into church, she is respectful and reverent. Through the school doors she is well groomed and organized. When she enters the gym doors, she is excited and engaged. Through the door of the grocery store, Mom is friendly and focused. That’s the person she wants to be.
No matter where she goes, my mother shows herself. She isn’t sloppy or disheveled, unthoughtful or uncaring. She walks through a door with her head high and behind that facemask, her lipstick is on. My mother is well spoken and well mannered, a woman rich with grace and gratitude, proud of her family and her faith.
That’s how my mother walks through life.
I thought about her well-worn words as I wrote my speech to the students. Then I whispered them as I stepped through the school door that morning. I came prepared; I practiced my speech and dressed in a way that made me feel confident and sure. I threw my shoulders back and hid my nerves inside my notes, then, I walked through the door with a smile. I wanted the principal to be glad he had invited me; I hoped the teachers would deem me worthy of their time and maybe, just maybe, some young mind might latch onto my mother’s words and remember them on test day.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.