Sparring Students and an Amish Story

All through grade school, Alexis and Seth detested each other—at least that’s what they said. And it’s how they acted. I watched bemused as they drew angry sparks each time they passed in the aisle during the half-dozen years they were in my gifted class. During discussions, they instinctively championed opposite views and then rolled their eyes as the other spoke. Lunch time entertainment for their classmates was listening to Seth and Alexis spar.

At the end of my wits one day, I told them a story.

“Long ago and far away,” I said, “my mother taught at an Amish school. And she told me about a couple of her students who remind me of the two of you—always arguing.”

When my mother left that school to raise a family, those two students were still squabbling. But a decade later and far from the Amish community, my mom answered her doorbell. And standing on her front porch in Flint, Michigan, were two Amish people with their children.

The grimaces and disavowals came before I could even finish my story. But I had found a way to silence the animosity. All I had to do was recite the first few words of the story.

But one day in the last month of the last year I taught Alexis and Seth, a student came into my room with a cryptic message: Watch this.

 And it didn’t take me long to see.  Goodwill had replaced the enmity between Alexis and Seth. Through their high school years, their classmates kept me updated.

“They’re still together, Mrs. Swartz,” they’d say when they saw me in town.

 Just this week, Alexis tagged me in a Facebook post. And here’s what I read:

I recently read a book written by Phyllis Swartz, who was a grade school teacher of ours that always teased us that we would end up married someday. ♥️

In her book, she shares this beautiful reflection about young love.

“There’s a wholesome simplicity in marrying your first love. We built our lives together rather than merge them, entwining our histories early. We saw each other in our most awkward, and most exhilarating moves into adulthood.”

Sharing our first wedding anniversary today, complete with the cake we cut that special day, is yet another moment in my life that I can’t imagine celebrating with anyone else by my side.

One of my other students made a comment: Does she mail you a “told-you-so” card every so often?

I’m thinking about it!

2 Replies to “Sparring Students and an Amish Story”

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