Home Away From Home Created With Discipline and Grace

One Person Who Impacted My Life

When a friend asked this question on facebook, though many people profoundly impacted me throughout my life, the first person who came to mind is my dorm mother in Africa.

At times I felt alone and abandoned because my parents’ missionary responsibilities required them to leave my sister and I when we were little. When we grew older we went away to a mission boarding school for three months at a time and then we came home for a month.

I had a couple of dorm mothers who were not kind and one had a mean shaming attitude in discipline. Fortunately when I attended Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, East Africa for my teen years, 13-16, Miss Leitch came into my life as my dorm mother.  

Miss Leitch had an awesome way of holding us accountable in a gracious way and would sometimes even kid about what we should be doing. She’d smile and say, “Come on girls, you know the lights are supposed to go out now,” and she would stand there until we complied. 

She never shamed us when she corrected us.

I remember how she held me accountable but I never felt bad. She disciplined us but also befriended us and laughed with us.

As a developing teen she had a great impact on me and made me feel safe in my home away from home. Those years separated from my parents could have been traumatic but instead because of the care and safe haven she created and the awesome variety of activities we participated in, those years were some of the best years of my life. All the girls loved her. 

She inspires me even now in the classroom as a substitute teacher, to be gracious in discipline and to be friendly and fun.

I had always wanted to thank her. At our 40 year old reunion, I had the chance to thank her for her kindness, grace and sense of fun.

“A kindhearted woman gains honor.” Proverbs 11:16 (NIV)

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