THIS happened before Covid shut schools down. The call came while I was out. “Please come and hear your song.”
It was the headmaster of a school. He had asked me some time ago, to write the school anthem and I had done so, I guessed it was now ready to be sung.
There must have been over a thousand students in the hall. The little ones could hardly stand and the older ones stood impatient, wondering what the fuss was all about. The musician who had put song to tune, stood in front of children and started the music going.
I stood spellbound looking at a thousand little faces, innocent and sweet, raising their voices in praise and thanksgiving.
Tears flow easily for me, and sometimes at the most inappropriate of times and place, to my own embarrassment and to the delight of my friends, who have tried on various occasions to record them for posterity.
I wondered whether same tears were pouring down my cheek as children stared and teachers smiled.
Could I explain those tears to them?
To tell them of early years in school which I dreaded not because of faculty, class or teacher being at fault, but simply because yours truly was not one of those brilliant, lustrous, gifted intellectuals who are loved and revered by both teachers and principal, who come first, year after year, wins prize for both house and school, made monitor, prefect, house captain and head boy till they pass out to the blowing of trumpets and tearful farewell speeches made again by teachers and principal at a special function to honour the most favoured student.
I wasn’t one of those. School walls made me want to run, from stern, tyrannical teacher who with glee asked “Bob, what is thirteen times twelve?” I stammered, stuttered, fumbled, but still answered and when with relief sat down, she would look again after a minute or two and ask, “Twelve times thirteen?” And class would laugh and wonder what fool it was who could remember thirteen times twelve, but not twelve times thirteen!
I disliked math and geography and science and all the rest and loathed each day to enter the walls of learning.
I fear the teachers loathed me in return for loathing what they had made their whole lives and career revolve around.
I dreaded school, but after the first period was over, the bell rang and into school hall we trooped. There Australian principal and equally severe English assistant held school assembly.
I loved that hour and loved most the school anthem, written by the founder, who unlike the strict, sadistic teachers who stood around, loved children and spoke to us of God who also loved the brats we were. It was a love song: A love twixt God and we little uncertain, unsure ones.
A song which told me to lift my heart in joy and sing out, that the One whom we sang to would reach out and carry us through scary, frightening, terrifying hours.
With school anthem, I faced the day. With its words and tune firmly etched in my mind, I still face tough days, today.
Thirteen times twelve I might still not remember, but that chorus I do. You stare at tears my tiny ones? They flow down my face with joy for I know He will hold you through the years ahead, like He did for me. Now sing your song out loud..!