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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)

TITLE: A Teacher
By Jean Boulmay


This morning I spoke with a woman, on the phone, that I have known for several years. She lives in another state, and I do not get to see her very often. I have been thinking a lot about her lately, and the influence she has had on my life.

Evelyn Kerns married at the age of 15, and was the mother of a 4-year-old, 3-year-old, 1-year-old, and newborn twin daughters by the age of 21. Now, I do not know about you, but if I had 5 children under the age of 5 years, I would certainly need a lot of help! (I think licensed day-care requires at least 2 people to cope with that many children). Evelyn did not have day-care or a nanny, she was the babysitter, nurse, teacher, cook, maid, seamstress, referee…..the president over domestic affairs.

Her husband was a hard worker, and kept the family fed and clothed, which meant that he was gone for most of the day. This left Evelyn with the joy of caring for 5 children alone. Joy turned to frustration at times. I remember her saying in frustration; “if I hear one more kid holler mama!” I do not remember her finishing the sentence.

She decided that her children were going to play and sing gospel music, which led to her and all 5 kids picking strawberries until they had enough money to buy a guitar and banjo.

She did not know how to play either one of these instruments, but that did not deter her in the least. She had 2 books that showed her where to put hands on the guitar and banjo to play chords, and she had an old upright piano that she played hymns on by ear. This was all she needed. She put the guitar in one of her son’s hands, and the banjo in the other son’s hands. She showed them where to put their hands on the strings, and as she was playing a song, she would tell them when to change chords. She spent hours playing music with her children. The boys got to the point where they knew, by sound, when to change chords. Her 3 girls were also involved with the music. They enjoyed singing, and learned to harmonize.

All of her children were involved with the music in their church, either singing or playing an instrument. The older son has become a very good musician and has the ability to play any stringed instrument he sets his mind too. One of the twins has learned to accompany herself on the guitar as she sings. The other twin loves to play gospel music on the piano. Her mother, of course, was her first piano teacher. The joy of music and the ability to play instruments has given her children hours and hours of pleasure.

Faith in God and joy in music are two very important gifts that Evelyn has given to her children. I find it interesting to realize that God can have such an impact on so many lives through the use of just one person.

When life has been difficult for me, I have found faith in God and the joy of music will see me over the rough times. Since Evelyn was my very first piano teacher and also my mother, I have her to thank for these gifts.

Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Elder-Criss07/20/04
What a loving tribute to your mother..she sounds like an amazing lady (and one determined teacher). Thanks for sharing this with us. Blessings~Mary
L.M. Lee07/21/04
man, what a woman!
Holly Payne07/21/04
This was touching. I greatly enjoyed it. Amazing how our most important lessons usually come at home, huh? Wonderful!
darlene hight07/22/04
This is a beautiful tribute and proof positive that the best teachers are our parents.
Marcell Billinghurst07/22/04
What a wonderful tribute and testimony to your mother who taught you so much. God bless you in your writing and music and also your family as you serve the Lord.
Karen Treharne07/25/04
Jean what a beautiful tribute to your mom and to God. Music plays a very important part in my appreciation of God and ability to pray to Him when words of my own excape me. You were very blessed with a gifted mother who knew God and wanted to share it with her children. What a great happy family you have. I hope all your brothers and sisters feel the same.