We often take for granted the years of childhood, adolescence and youth. For many these periods of life may have been difficult even horrifying, for still others they can be very precious.

I remember some of the days of my childhood before attending school. My parents ran a grocery store in south Fort Payne and my grandmother lived with us. I would spend the days in her care as my parents worked. I remember the neighborhood where we lived and the other kids I spent my days playing and pretending with.

I can still recall my firs: day of school at Williams Avenue Elementary. My mother took me and I was really nervous. As we were going down the hall she spotted a boy at the water fountain with red hair and tried to cheer me by saying “that boy’s head is on fire”. I was not amused just anxious about this new experience! Williams Avenue brought me new friends and the opportunity for learning the fundamentals of my education.

Moving to Fort Payne a High, I saw school in a different light. My first two years were at the old school on the East side of town. A lot of tradition and memories were there. Cudzu grew behind the school and at least once a year someone would set it on fire and the fire department would come extinguish it. During my junior year we moved to the new school in North Fort Payne. It was so nice and different. Today we have some of the best school buildings to be found. We are also blessed with some of the finest teachers and administrators to educate our children.

Education is not the only part of our growing years. Our lives change in many ways along our journey. We grow from tiny children to mature adults in seemingly short periods of time. We find ourselves faced with new decisions and problems along the way. So much rides on how we face life and make decisions. It is so important for us to gain insight through the wise council of reliable teachers and mentors we encounter.

It is so important for us to know and experience the love and grace of God. Jesus said he came to give us life and that we might have it more abundantly. My prayer is that you experience His love and forgiveness as you go through life!

– John Keefe is the pastor of Minvale Baptist Church.

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