Caught in the Act



Attending a one-room schoolhouse is something most people have only read about, but for me it was a reality for the first and second grade. Eight grades in one large room provided an experience like no other.


Of course there were only a few students for each grade and as I think about it, those moms today who home school their children probably have a greater feel for the experience than most anyone else. Even so, to have 25 students in one room at different grade levels taught by one teacher meant you needed an extraordinary teacher.


My teacher’s name was Mrs. Queen and the name fit her as perfectly as the smile she always wore.


The room was arranged with desks in rows and sections according to grade level. A large coal stove stood to one side and was used to heat the room in the winter. Behind the stove were a row of hooks for coats and jackets. Bathrooms were the more primitive outdoor variety. The playground had one set of swings and an abundance of grass.


I was one of three little girls in the first grade. Our desks were up front in the room, but the front wall’s black chalkboard gave us a glimpse of what other grades were assigned and we could also hear and benefit from the instruction students above us received.


The disadvantage for me was my seeming inability to tune out the instruction for other grades and focus on my own work. It sounded more interesting than the work I was assigned. I also am and was a very auditory learner so I would zero in on all sorts of new information long before that material would be given to me. In fact, I learned a lot by listening.


I listened so well to the other girls in my class reading aloud that when it came to my turn, I could read the pages without stumbling over a single word.


It seemed like I was the best reader in the class and I got credit for that until Mrs. Queen discovered the truth.


I was not reading the words, but imitating. I pretended to read, but had instead memorized the stories in the reading book.


It was almost the middle of the first grade and I was caught. My parents were told and I needed to start at the beginning of the first grade reader again.


There are many things I learned by imitation and this may not be a bad thing, but some things do not work that way. I can imitate the way my mother crimped a piecrust. I can imitate how I use my camera lens after I watch a You Tube video. I can imitate a British accent after watching Downton Abbey.


In the spiritual realm, I cannot imitate the nature of Jesus.


It is either in me or it is not.


As a believer, I am called to often be and do what is not my duty, to love when it would be easier to resent, to persevere when it would be easier to walk away, to respond with grace when a comment made is less then loving.


If I only imitate, I will be found out as surely as Mrs. Queen detected I was not reading. I will also dishonor the Lord in my life when others discover I was only imitating.


His character cannot be imitated. It only happens by the infusion of His life and Spirit at work within me.



14 thoughts on “Caught in the Act

  1. Dear friend … I am absolutely amazed at what a prolific writer you are! May putting pen to paper continue to give you encouragement and a sense of place, a bit of normalcy and peace.

    Bless you.

    1. Ah, Linda, I am nurtured by writing/reading and I also have re-posted some things from earlier time during this challenging time of health issues with our family. My husband’s view was the ones I chose were as relevant now as when I first posted them. ♥️

  2. I enjoyed your story. It reminded me of Little House on the Prairie also. Recently, people I thought were Christlike are posting comments on social media that make me think they have been imitating Him-I’m not seeing the love, compassion, caring, selflessness, and sacrifice that reflect His nature. It also makes we wonder, do I? Thanks for a lovely lesson.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the story! I think the state of affairs we are living in has resulted in a great deal more being evident or revealed through social media posts than we may have known before. I have seen that as well, Aletha. Thanks for your kind comments. Have a blessed weekend.🦋

    1. Kind of crazy to think on it, but readers were for the first grade were not too complex and I was already used to memorizing songs to sing at church and some scripture verses so that likely helped. After all these years, I still remember most clearly what I have heard more quickly than something I have only seen.💕

  3. I love this illustration – and yes it is what God works within us that enables change. We can try to do the right thing but it has to come from the heart – Thank you enjoyed these reflections.

  4. Being able to memorize the story from listening to only 2 other children sounds like a great gift to me – but I am glad you learned to read. Reading is one of the best things in the world.

    1. It was a gift, but certainly needed to be corrected as I too LOVE reading as a favorite activity and hobby!💕

  5. I attended a one-room schoolhouse for 1st grade. I was too young to be enrolled in public school, but I think my mom was ready to get me out of the house. 😉 Mrs. Rainey was my teacher.

    I want to be infused too and not just be an imitator. Thanks, Pam!

    1. That’s a great story, Lisa! Cannot imagine someone so adorable as you likely were as one a mom was eager to get out of the house…

      I think it can be too easy to forget that knowledge doesn’t equal infusion. That only comes via the Holy Spirit and a life walking out the truths in our knowledge base so we actually “own” them. We can get so involved with acquiring knowledge that we can miss how ineffective it is without experience to go along with it.

      I have thought of that often as I watch the protests recently. It is important to become informed, but unless you have actually spent time in getting to know a person or couple of a different ethnicity we miss what makes the difference toward understanding on both sides.

  6. Pam, I think there was an episode on Little House on the Prairie where one of the girls was reciting instead of reading. The teacher graciously applauded her ability in that area while helping her learn to read. Great analogy.

    1. You are likely right, Deb, but right now I cannot bring that to my memory. That was such a great series. I wish we had more things like that on TV currently. They provided such good models for us. Thanks for your kind words.♥️

Leave a Reply