Growing up, one of my most beloved teachers was my second-grade instructor by the name of Ms. Hausser. Her classroom was on the bottom level of the dark and dusty West LaFollette School, right next to a door that led outside and a large hill that took your little Keds straight to the playground.
Her classroom had the classic, heavy wooden desks that opened to place your schoolbooks covered in paper bags lovingly inside, as well as your No. 2 pencils and Garbage Pail Kids stickers. Ms. Hausser was an educational missionary, in a sense, and her mission field was the classroom, instructing us in how to grow a sprout from a bean wrapped in a wet paper towel and encouraged our love for reading.
She enlightened us in various cultures, and we found great pleasure in cleaning those chalk-filled blackboard erasers for her at the end of the afternoon.
We adored her, and she saw great potential in our 7- and 8-year-old selves.
One of the many things I remember most about that year was a small classroom poster that hung on those old walls.
Most teachers had those posters with puppies in a basket or a large cat, dangling from a tree with the inscription, “Hang in there.”
But hers was the classic mantra, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
That whole year I followed that wisdom. When I made a less than desirable grade on a test, I would try, try again. When a friend and I would get into a disagreement on the monkey bars, I would apologize and put forth efforts to mend that friendship.
I would try again.
We are in the absolute beginning stages of 2014.It is a brand new year. New possibilities. New dreams. New goals.
Maybe you are pushing toward a new job, trying to lose a few pounds or want to develop a relationship with a long-lost friend or relative. Maybe you want to spend more time at home or travel to foreign lands.
Or maybe you are finally gaining the guts to sit down and write that book you are scared to death no one will read.
In a few months from now, you may lose your passion for the dreams you set forth for yourself right now.
But don’t. Get back on the saddle and try, try again. Keep pushing and keep dreaming.
The same wisdom that was poured into me as a second grader still rings true today.
And when I sit down on the chillier evenings to bring this column to you each week, and wrap myself in a cream-colored, handmade afghan that Ms. Hausser made for me as a wedding gift almost a decade ago, I am reminded that there was someone, all along, who believed in me. I just needed to believe in myself.
Keep dreaming, friends. And try again.
May this year be the best year yet!
Christie Elkins is a Campbell County native whose columns appear weekly on the Lifestyles page of the LaFollette Press. She’s a mother of three and a full-time blogger at www.mywalkwitheden.com