I wish the entire legislative branch of the United States government had gone to preschool with my children. If they had, I doubt they would behave like unsupervised banshees under Mrs. Marjorie Lewis’s tutelage.
Mrs Lewis was the quintessential preschool teacher; I met her after moving to Northwest Arkansas (and hating it) from Tulsa. I put in a few phone calls to the Bentonville chamber of commerce asking for recommendations about preschools, and they gave me Marjorie’s phone number. I was a bit neurotic back then– I did NOT want to be in Arkansas. On the phone, I told Mrs. Lewis that my daughter would probably experience separation anxiety. She was nonplussed. Strangely, her lack of reaction to that comforted me.
Next morning I met her where she held preschool in a section of the local Methodist church. She was in her mid-thirties and she was wearing a “Hard Rock Cafe” t-shirt with blue jeans. Pretty different from the teachers at the preschool in Tulsa — they were dressed to the nines and predictable.
I met Mrs Lewis and immediately liked her.
What does this have to do with Congress? Alot. Mrs. Lewis ran a tight ship, but the children knew they were free to express themselves. Nothing was by rote. She studied her students and they responded to that. Now, having said that, this is what she was able to imply without even raising her voice:
- you are incredibly special, but no more special than any other child in this classroom (or in Congress’ case, your constituents)
- if you choose to be dramatic, you will not be rewarded. You can cut off your nose to spite your face, but you will spite your face. Period (i.e., shutting down the government is childish at best.)
- If you can read “Green Eggs and Ham,” Wonderful! But you will not be allowed to read it over and over until my eyes (i.e., the country’s) glaze over.