The Right Thing to Do
One of the places where I learned to give thanks was Stratford Avenue School in Garden City, New York. Miss Streeter taught one of the Kindergarten classes. I enjoyed being in her class probably about as much as any of my K-6 years there. She helped us to learn to appreciate each other and appreciate ourselves...as much as any 4 year-old could grasp such profound lessons. It was more than the automatic “please and thank you” that any well-mannered child includes in conversation. It wasn’t an affect. It was simply who we were in the first floor, west wing classroom in that brick elementary school.
Like most of us who grew up in the late 1950’s and into the turbulent decade of the ‘60’s, the fall brought on impressing maple leaves onto pieces of clay, painting it, and having it fired in the kiln to be able to bring home a special candy dish. Hand tracings were magically converted into turkeys, with the addition of some glue, colorful feathers, and glitter. (The glue and glitter in mass quantities, of course!).
And the Thanksgiving pageant was the highlight of the first half of the year. We walked into the gym singing, “Come, Ye Thankful People Come.” Miss Streeter patiently invested weeks helping us to remember the words of the first verse and catching the tune...and when we got it she was so excited! We processed in a long line, cradling our cans of corn, peas, and chicken noodle soup. One can at a time the mound grew. Mr. Trott told us that our “offerings will help boys and girls just like you, except that they go to bed hungry every night. They thank you very much.”
I’m still thankful to have had Miss Streeter as my Kindergarten teacher. She looked after us, encouraged us, and made us feel special. I’m still thankful that Mr. Trott was our Principal, someone who innately sensed the potential in each one of us.
This issue of the REPORTER is all about thanksgiving. From the Ingathering that makes a difference locally and across the world, to appreciation for a “God-powerful experience” at our camps, to a 5k run sponsored by an emerging congregation that supports ministry to homeless youth, to an ELL program that “changes lives,” to the ministry of a new Superintendent, to a heartfelt appreciation of a more open church that truly expresses God’s love...there are many ways to give thanks...for, indeed, it’s the right thing to do!
Dr. Art McClanahan
Director of Communications