February 10, 2011 by Andrew
There is an Anglican Minister who is known by the name of Elvis Priestly; his real name is Dorian Baxter. To me he will always be known as Mr. Baxter, my grade eight teacher. Also he will be known as the man who gave me a second chance when I deserved none.
From the african geography assignment on Mauritania to teaching us Eenie Meenie Macka Racka Rei Rye Donna Macka Chicken Poppa Lolly Poppa Rom Pom Push. He said it was an african version of eenie meenie.
Mr. Baxter was an odd man everyone seemed to like him but you could never quite figure him out. It’s kind of funny because I have heard the same thing said about me at times. He was always well dressed and took pride in who he was, definitely someone to look up to.
At the same time in my life, I had become friends with a kid who kind of got me into the wrong kind of things, mainly shoplifting… nothing big but when you added it all up it became quite significant. Chocolate bars and pop add up. We would leave at lunch or after school to go up the street, to this supermarket and we had a fairly significant operation so much so that we grew a bit cocky about it. Nothing could stop us, the thrill was exciting. Then one day it all came crashing to a halt because I came around the corner with my pockets full of stash, and standing before me was Mr. Baxter with a look of disappointment on his face. He explained that he had seen the whole thing and that I had two options:
- To stop right away, never do it again and that I had to tell my parents what I had been up to.
- That he would tell the store owners and the cops would be called and then who knows.
I am glad that I took option one, it was a hard thing to do to tell my parents but it was worth it. My Mom made me donate my paper route money to the Salvation Army Christmas Collectors. I look back now and know that was a more than reasonable punishment and I am thankful for it.
There are two things that Mr. Baxter taught me in that moment, that it is good to practice mercy and grace and give second chances and that moments can help change and define us but they do not have to be a means for identification. I was never treated any differently by Mr. Baxter after this event, in some ways I appreciated him more and learned even more during that time.
Thank You Sir.