Regret: The Good School Marm

     In Streeter Middle School where I was forced to go as a child (after all nobody chooses to go to Middle School) there was a teacher nobody wanted to have. We called her “Big Bad Bood”. Her real name was Mrs. Boudreau and she owned the reputation of being four and a half feet of pure mean. She taught algebra.

     I began having nightmares about her at the end of seventh grade which continued all through the summer right up until the time I started eighth grade in September. I dreamed about being hit with rulers because I couldn’t balance equations. I dreamed about being forced to inhale nose spray because I didn’t know the difference between positive and negative integers (I know weird :roll:).

    Anyway September came and I met “Big Bad Bood”. She passed out our algebra books and warned us that we would have them covered by next class or face detention. She gave us homework that day and told us how to do it. She taught with no-nonsense and gave us clear direction about what she expected. She answered questions directly and told us “The only stupid question is the one you never ask”.  I learned by the end of day one I had been frightened all summer of someone I actually liked! She was tough. She was a disciplinarian. But if you were willing to work you had nothing to fear.

      I am finding as I enter mid-life that regret is a lot like Mrs. Boudreau. As a young man I never wanted to have regret  just like I never wanted to have algebra. But I have found that regret is a part of life just like algebra is a part of eighth grade. You can’t get through life without it; That’s just part of being an imperfect human being.

    Regret is tough. Regret is a disciplinarian. Regret is a good school marm. It exists to teach us something. If we are willing to learn regret can become a friend rather than a foe. It’s when we sit and do nothing but curse our regret that she turns into four and a half feet of pure mean.

     Listen, we’ve all got regret. It’s how much you resist her teachings that determines how much pain she is going to cause!

What is your regret trying to teach you?


11 thoughts on “Regret: The Good School Marm

  1. I love the analogy; and I love the way God uses all things to get our attention! How much time we spend fearing our lessons rather than embracing them as a mark of sonship; or hiding our failings rather than reaching out for help. Is there a correlation between regret and an inability to admit our shortcomings? I think maybe yes. It’s harder for me to regret past decisions if I am open about them and see the way the Lord uses them to encourage others. Often we have the greatest power and ministry in the arena where we have been the weakest and most broken; and it’s our honesty that frees us from the “what should have beens” and propels us into the “learning” phase you talk about in this post. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome Chrystal! So often I live in the world of “woulda’-coulda’-shoulda'”. He has been reminding me lately that He is made strong in my broken places, but I need to embrace Him in the brokenness if I am to live in his strength! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Indeed! It is the way you look at everything isn’t it? Not everything is good but God can take even the bad and use it for good if we let Him. It’s when we won’t look for His work in the bad stuff that we fall into the pit of despair.

  3. Thanks, Pastor J

    I agree, Wonderful anology!

    I met Ms Boudreau in my adult life. A real tyrant of a boss! What did I learn? I learnt to put things in perspective. I learnt to put emphasis on what is important and to spend my time on the things of value. As a result, I spend more time with my family and less on the job. I *try* not to sweat the small stuff and I learnt not to fear made-up monsters.

    God is good. I maintain all our experiences are worth something!


    P.S> … did you peek on my upcoming post?

  4. My oldest daughter believed that we regretted more those things that we didn’t do than the things we did do. It was a way she used to motivate herself into doing things that were challenging. 🙂
    Thank you and God bless you for helping us see regret in a better way. And our 5th grade teachers. 😉

    • ‘Tis true the “Road not taken” is so often one of our saddest longings. But I have come to realize life is not about what might have been; It is about what IS and what Is can be so wonderful if we will choos to “Fail Forward” as John Maxwell urges! 🙂

  5. I however did not have a similar experience with Mrs. B. But I don’t regret it…still do not understand Algebra….Integers what? Equations Who? Ahhhn give me art and music and dance and acting….and “here let my soul breathe”….
    Love you Brother!

    • Ahh but you have let your regrets fall away as the fuselage of a rocket. They have propelled you to new heights of excellence! 🙄 I have got to stop before I become any more melodramatic!

  6. Pingback: Award Sunday: 7×7 Link Award! | Reinventing the We'll

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