Posted tagged ‘yearbook’

Yearbook Signings

May 31, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       May 30, 2019

                              

Today was my last day of substitute teaching for this school year. Tomorrow I’m having a root canal. Some of the middle school teachers were willing to trade places with me if I took their classes.

I said no!

Today, however, I had several students come to me with their yearbooks and ask me to sign them. I can’t just sign my name like a doofus! I HAVE to write something, a few words of wisdom, or some inspirational jargon with a personal spin to it.

One 8th grade girl begged me to come and sub in high school next year. I let her have some hope that I would consider it, but I think I’d rather gargle with spoiled milk!

End-of-the-school year emotions run the whole spectrum. At one end are students who are crying their eyes out and at the other are students counting down the minutes like a NASA rocket launch just waiting for the final bell to ring.

“Mr. Wolfe, would you sign my yearbook?”

“Sure!” I take it in hand and glance at the words already written by others, hoping someone wrote this young lady’s name in their greeting. If not, I create a nickname on the spot, like “K-Factor”, “Brainiac”, and “Groovy Girl!” (No, just kidding on that last one!).

“K-Factor! What an awesome young lady you are! Every time I see a Snicker’s bar next year I’ll think of you!”

“Steady Freddy! You brought a smile to my face every time I had you in class this year. You are something else! Have a great summer!”

“Jill! Keep being as awesome as you are and the sky’s the limit!”

“Judy! Eat your veggies!”

The yearbook signings are diverse in message, some funny and some serious, some meaningless and others with words that will bring back a smile years from now. I didn’t have yearbooks from my middle school days. My first yearbook, still on my shelf, is from my freshman year at Maysville High School in Zanesville, Ohio. I was 4’10” with eyeglasses that kept sliding down my nose. In fact, I was runner-up in the school chess tournament that year. There is a picture in the yearbook where I am shaking the hand of the champion, a junior, and my glasses look like they’re about to fall off my face. I look at that picture now, 50 years later, and cringe but also chuckle. Some of these students will have the same reactions when they look at their pictures sometime in the future.

“Good Lord, what was I doing with my hair back then?”

“Look at my facial expression! Was I constipated that day?”

“Thank God, I stopped wearing that stupid headband by the time I got out of high school!”

And the signings. They will look at what Johnny wrote and laugh, or what Andrew wrote that makes no sense, or what Kyle wrote that a handwriting interpreter wouldn’t be able to figure out.

Students who have caused my underwear to get into a wad suddenly want me to sign their yearbook. I am honored that they value my signature so much. Some of the students who have caused me to run screaming to my car after school are the ones who want me to plant a few “Words from WW” in the center of their page. In 2039 when they pull their copies off their shelves many of them will get perplexed looks on their faces as they try to remember who Mr. Wolfe was…and that’s okay!

Transformed Opinions

April 26, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               April 26, 2013

 

Once in a great while I get out my high school yearbook from the early seventies. It is a mixture of comical relief and embarrassment…even more embarrassing if there is someone looking at it with me! Comments get made such as “You looked like…THAT?” and “You wore THOSE kind of glasses?” the comments are never made in flattering ways that result in me pumping up my chest, but rather they are asked with a chuckling undertone.

It is easy to see how I have changed from a distance of forty years. Different glass frames (Thank God!), puffier cheeks, thinner hair. Distance sometimes makes things frightfully clear.

The reverse of that is trying to discern changes on a day-to-day basis. Unless a person goes through a “make-over”, how different someone is on Monday compared to Sunday, or even the previous Monday, is hard to know.

There are similar criteria involved in discerning a person’s spiritual transformation. I have a hard time knowing how I have grown in my walk with the Lord from my perspective. It may not even be as clear as a slowly receding hairline or expanding waist.

What I need are others who are in the midst of faith journeys to tell me what they are sensing. Sometimes those external views involve hard things to hear, such as sensing I’m in the midst of a spiritual dryness, or the identifying of an evident fear to go to a deeper level of trust. And sometimes those observations are encouraging and energizing comments that leave me asking “Really? You see how I’ve grown?”

The past few years I’ve attended a basketball official’s camp at some time during the summer. We don’t stand around a campfire singing “Kum-Ba-Yah” at this camp, or dance around the dining hall chanting “We are the Order of the Forks!”. At this camp we officiate basketball games while being watched by clinicians. As we go about managing the game on the court the clinicians take note and then share their observations with us during time-outs, half-time, and at the end of the game. They note good things we did- good calls, good communication- and bad things we do- lame calls, slow rotations in covering the court. Often during the three days together the clinicians will keep telling someone about a tendency that is being observed that needs to be corrected, and the official is able to correct that flaw by the end of the camp.

One of the instructions at the beginning of camp is to not use two words.

Yes, but!”

“Yes, but” is resistance to the truth. It’s a bolted door closed to reality.

Likewise, spiritual transformation needs those external eyes, trusted others to guide us and instruct us.

When I want a humorous moment I open my yearbook. When I want the close truth of the present reality I go to those I know love me, want the best for me, and want me to be all that God intended for me to be.