A child lies like a grey pebble…

My kids have become pretty used to having their teachers in our home.  Several staff have known my kids since their birth.

So, this scorching July, what better way for my youngest daughter, Danika, to mark a few of the first days of her summer by having her Grade 8 L. A. teacher around the house.

Mr. Dyck, perhaps unwisely, agreed to help me dig a 2 meter wide trench down to the basement footing so I could seal a crack that ran the entire height of the wall.

It was tough work.  Only a sharp spade could shave thin slices of Lake Agassiz clay, and this task was even more difficult when the spades hit rocks and clumps of cement that were included in the back-fill when the basement was poured 52 years ago.

When the sun swung around to the west side where we were working, a couple of beach umbrellas barely offered us relief as the humidex soared to 44 degrees Celcius.

But boy, can Mr. Dyck work!  We hit the footing late the first day, chipped out and grouted the crack on the second day, and applied the rubber membrane and filled the trench in with alternating layers of river wash stone and clay fill on the third day.

And boy, can Mr. Dyck sweat.  T-shirts were drenched in mere minutes.  My wife was grateful for his help, but that still didn’t stop her from relegating both of us to a couple of plastic Adirondack chairs during our breaks.  At the end of the day, Mr. Dyck would take a quick shower in the basement bathroom my son uses, and join us for dinner.  However, it was much more fun telling Danika that her teacher had showered in hers.

It was the last day, with Mr. Dyck and I deep in our pit, both glistening in our labour.  I noticed several drops of sweat had landed on some of the river wash stone.  I smiled as I had just read Elizabeth Hay’s Alone in the Classroom.  Miss Connie Flood, just 19, came on staff at a small prairie school in 1929.  She spent much of her first year trying to get an older student in her class to finally learn to read, and with some success.  Hay writes, “A child lies like a grey pebble on the shore until a certain teacher picks him up and dips him in water, and suddenly you see all the colours and patterns in the dull stone, and it’s marvelous for the child and marvelous for the teacher.”

What a privilege it is to be a part of the lives of your children.  You have chosen this school with good confidence that the partnering and teaching staff will delight when your child continues to shine in rich the colours that will come with greater knowledge, widened understand, and deepening faith.

Bob Hummelt