What do you remember from when you were in grade 6? If you are over 25 years of age, it probably isn’t too much in terms of the lessons and details of that year of your life. The things that we do tend to remember are the events and people that deeply impacted who we have become as adults.
For me, grade 6 was a watershed year in shaping who I have become. I was attending a public school in Surrey and Mr. Ferguson was my first male teacher. While I do not remember any of the math or social studies lessons he taught, I do remember some of life-lessons he imparted.
Looking back, the only memories I really have of that school year include: going to camp (and the fact that our high school-aged cabin counsellor kept calling us “Mongolians,” for some strange reason) and reading The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, followed quickly by The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
One other memory from my grade 6 year was a conversation Mr. Ferguson had with me about Corn Flakes®, of all things. In some ways, that conversation was life-altering; it changed my view of the world and it was a moment in time that marked a step towards growing up.
Mr. Ferguson told me that Corn Flakes® were a type of processed food and that they were not as nutritional as foods that were not processed. I am sure that when he said that to me, it was just an off-the-cuff comment for him. For me though, it made me realize that I could make choices in what I ate and, even more importantly, it made me think about the bigger picture stuff like how food is produced and marketed.
None for me, thanks
Honestly, that conversation was a worldview shaper. I went home and informed my mother that I would no longer eat Corn Flakes and insisted that we purchase and eat only oatmeal or shredded wheat. It literally changed me and shaped how I think critically about the world and my role in it.
I now have the privilege of observing worldview-changing conversations in all our middle school classrooms. I get to listen in on conversations about world cultures, service and stewardship. The real blessing is that I see these conversations being informed by a shared faith in Jesus; something that I cannot say for certain was true of my conversation with Mr. Ferguson.
Every now and again, I eat a bowl of Corn Flakes as a special treat. And, every time I indulge, I remember that conversation from grade 6.