I was a shy boy and it was my third school that year. Mrs Rogers was a kindly old lady with orange-red hair and glasses and the second grade teacher.
My new school didn’t have a cafeteria, so each day a cadre of jolly “lunch ladies” pushed a cart through the hallways delivering hot meals to each classroom. We’d stand in line and wait for the cart to come by, then eat our lunches at our desks. When lunch was finished, a second cart would pass through the hallway picking up the empty lunch trays. But before we could take our trays out, we had to pass through Mrs Rogers’ inspection. She’d shake our paper milk cartons to make sure we hadn’t tried to hide our peas or other icky vegetable.
That fateful day I finished lunch and stood in the line at Mrs Roger’s desk. I got to her desk, she looked over my tray, shook my milk carton and then asked me, “Richard, do you need to use the restroom?” This 7-year old shy kid nodded his head but it was too late. Standing there holding my lunch tray, with a line of kids behind me, I wet my pants.
Leroy was standing next to me and asked Mrs Rogers what the liquid all over the floor was. This discreet and wonderful teacher said simply, “Richard spilled something,” and walked me to the school office so I could call home for a clean pair of pants.
Mrs Rogers could have scolded the new kid in front of my classmates. She could have said something to Leroy so I wouldn’t have wanted to return the next day. She might have done something to belittle me. Instead, she kindly protected me.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11).