Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Incredible Woman #50 - Kathi Thompson. Teaching youth, and Love Story...

KARA: "You’ve told me that you love spending time with the youth and teaching. Tell us about that. What opportunities have you had to spend time with young people?"

KATHI: "I went back to College and finished up my BA Degree when Trent entered the first grade. I enjoyed going back to college as an adult. Trevor and Trent thought it was great that mom had homework too. We would all three sit at the table in the evenings and do our homework. They also helped me study for my tests. I majored in Child Development and Graduated in June of 1994. I was 20 years late in graduating! It was great looking up in the stands on that day and seeing my family cheering as I walked around the stadium with my Graduating Class. Better late than never!

When Trevor was a freshman in High School and Trent was in the fifth grade at I decided to work as a substitute teacher. I have spent the last fifteen years working part time at the schools Trevor and Trent attended. Our boys didn't mind me working at their schools and there were many benefits of being a substitute teacher. I got to know what was going on in their schools, I got to know their teachers and friends, I could regulate the number of days I worked, I could help my boys better with their homework, and I was home when they were home.

I have been blessed to spend most of my time serving in the LDS Church in the Young Women’s Program. I have loved teaching the gospel and sharing my testimony and love for so many wonderful young women in the church. I feel that serving in this capacity enabled me to be better prepared to go out into the world and teach the youth of the world. Many of the things we are taught in the church about teaching by the spirit and other principles stressed in the “Teaching No Greater Call” manual were very helpful and effective in teaching in the schools. If I was to give a title to this chapter in my life I would call it “Young Women Leader Goes Back To School.”

I have enjoyed being a substitute teacher. In our school district there is a program called “Character Counts” where teachers have an opportunity to share ways to develop good character. Many times when I sub a class I share thoughts and experiences that demonstrate the values of character such as caring, respect, responsibility, and many others. I tried to teach the students about being kind to one another and making correct choices in their lives. I found the students very receptive as I shared how to develop good character in their classrooms. I have come to love the students, teachers, and administrators in our school district. After Trent’s death, these wonderful people who were not of our faith reached out to our family in love and were especially tender as I returned to teaching several weeks later. When I walked on campus so many of them ran up to me and gave me a hug. Their words of love and support really touched my heart. They have been such a blessing to me. They shared our family’s grief and together we are reaching out to help each other heal our aching hearts. I always felt like I was on the Lord’s errand during my times in the classroom. The Lord needs all of us to Let our Lights Shine in our communities. I have been truly blessed in all of my associations while working in our school district."

KARA: "Tell us your love story. How did you meet? How has your relationship changed over the years? Since you are now “empty-nesters”, what are your plans for the future together?"

KATHI: "During college, I decided that I wanted to be an International Airline Stewardess. I had taken four years of Spanish in High School and took one year of German in College. My father liked this idea as he had heard that families of Airlines Stewardesses got travel discounts. He didn't mind paying for the braces I needed to get or for the contact lenses I needed. All of this was in preparation for me applying to the Airlines. My father was very excited during this time. It would take a year and a half for the braces to come off and he would bring home travel brochures and dream of the places he was going to travel with my mom with his Family Airline Travel Discount.

In my second year of college, I met my husband in my P.E. class. The teacher put us together as mixed double Tennis partners. His name was Curtis and he was very good looking. He was very muscular and had a great tan. In addition to this he was an incredible athlete. I was a bit embarrassed when she first put me with him. I had on a white gym uniform, my hair was in pig tails and I had braces with tiny rubber bands attached to them that would break if I laughed. I also had not worn my contact lenses that day so I couldn't see the balls that he was hitting to me in practice. After that first day with my new Tennis partner, I bought a cute Tennis Dress, wore a decent hairstyle, wore my contacts so I could see the ball, and improved my tennis skills! We were a great team and won every match.

We dated during our time as mixed double partners in Tennis P.E. and during this time I discovered that he was a Mormon. I was impressed with his high standards and his views on Eternal families. I felt that there was something really special about him.

Curtis arranged for me to meet with the missionaries. I also felt the spirit really strong while the missionaries taught me the discussions. They answered all of my questions. I was impressed that they were able to answer the three questions that I had had when I was five years old. I now understood where I came from, why I was here, and where I was going after this life. The things the missionaries taught me sounded familiar to my spirit and I felt an excitement in my heart. The missionaries taught me so much. I had never really read the scriptures before and had never prayed up to this point. They taught me that our prayers are heard and answered.

The missionaries challenged me to ask the Lord if the Book of Mormon was true. I did pray fervently to receive the confirmation that Book of Mormon was the word of God. A few days after that prayer, I felt an overwhelming feeling come into my heart and it was revealed to me by the spirit that the Book of Mormon was true.

Curtis baptized me in 1971. I still remember the wonderful feelings I had as I walked down the steps of the Baptismal Font with Curtis waiting in the font. My parents and family were there. Curtis's family was there. It was a very special day and I knew my life would never be the same.

Curtis and I dated a lot during college. Our relationship began to grow and the day came when we talked of marriage. Curtis secretly bought me an engagement ring and went to my father's office to ask for my hand in marriage. My father was impressed by Curtis's visit and was happy to give his approval for our marriage. I found my father such a great sport about all of this. By then my braces had come off and it was time for me to apply to become and Airline Stewardess. My father had plans for world travel with his good old family discount! Then in walks Curtis into my life and instead of getting to travel the world, my dad ends up paying for a wedding.

It was hard getting used to the empty nest especially since we were thrown into the situation by our son’s unexpected death. We were so actively involved in the lives of our children and we missed that part of our lives. We have spent most of the time in the recovery process of grief and the healing of my husband’s injuries from his automobile accident in 2005. We have spent a great deal of time together during this process and have felt the hand of the Lord leading us along the detour that life had given us. We have had many opportunities to help others who are wounded by grief, sorrow, and the difficult challenges of life. Part of the healing process is to reach out and help others.

We would love to serve a mission and will patiently wait upon the Lord for the healing of my husband’s injuries. Until that day comes I continue to work on Family History and attend the Temple with my husband to do the work for our ancestors."

Tomorrow I'll talk to Kathi about some of the trials she's been through, and how faith has played a role in getting through those trials. Hope to see you then.


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