Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion
Two-Room School House
My elementary education is one I will never forget. I did not attend a big school with lots of children. In fact, my elementary school consisted of just two rooms. In one room was a female teacher with children in grades 1-3. In the next room was a male teacher with students in grades 4-7. In those days, there was no nursery school or kindergarten. Children went straight into the first grade.
We sat in rows according to our grade. In the first room, the few first-graders sat around a table. The second graders had their own row in the middle of the room. The third graders had the luxury of sitting in a row next to the wall.
We heard all the teachings that went on in the other grades. The first graders heard what the second and third graders were learning. The second graders heard what the first and third graders were learning. The third grader got a good review of two other graders before they could learn new information pertaining to their grade.
This went on every day of the school year. There were a morning recess and an afternoon recess. However, there were two activities that went on before the two teachers even began teaching each day.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul into vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psalm 24:4)
Every single school day without fail, there was an activity called Morning Inspection. It was just as the name indicates. Each teacher lined the students up around the wall and literally inspected us to see if we were clean.
The teacher in both rooms checked each student individually. The premise was that we could not learn effectively if we were dirty. There was no spot checking. The teachers had a pattern for checking us. They would start with the top to make sure our hair was clean and shiny. Then they would move down to our face to make sure we had washed it before going to school. We had to show that we had cleaned our teeth. Then our ears were checked to see if we had left any wax in them.
Each of us had to stretch out our little hands so they could be inspected thoroughly. Our fingernails were checked to see if they had dirt underneath them. All this time, children held their breath for fear of not passing morning inspection.
We were glad when the teacher got down to inspecting our shoes and socks because we knew the inspection was coming to an end. Our teacher would tap her yardstick on the toe of the students' shoes to let us know we had passed Morning Inspection. Before we could take our seats, we had to show the teacher that we had a neatly folded clean handkerchief for the day.
Only the teacher and the student knew who didn't pass inspection because the child was not called out and embarrassed. The student just didn't get a tap on the toe. The other children didn't know because they were looking straight ahead and not at anyone else. Besides, almost everyone passed inspection every day because we knew what was expected of us.
Yes, it did take a considerable amount of time for Morning Inspection. After it was over, the lessons did not begin right away. There was another activity called Morning Devotion after all the children had been declared clean.
We began the Morning Devotion by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Then our teacher prayed a short prayer which included a blessing for the day. Next, each child recited a verse from the King James Version of the Bible. The teacher did not reprimand anyone if more than one person recited the same scripture. She was more concerned that the word of God came from each child's mouth whether it was a repeated verse or not. Jesus wept a lot in that two-room schoolhouse. It is the shortest verse in the Bible found in John 11:35 that consists of only two words: "Jesus wept." It is the easiest verse to remember.
After the last child recited his or her Bible verse, everyone sang a song. Some of those songs I haven't heard with my ears since I left that two-room schoolhouse, but I still hear them resounding in my mind from time to time.
After Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion were over, we were then ready for the day's lessons.
Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion Today
I have been out of that two-room schoolhouse for over 60 years. However, I still have to go through Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion before I can go to work or embark upon other activities of the day.
Today, the setting is not the same and the teacher is not the same. Since leaving that schoolhouse, the Master Teacher conducts the morning inspection. God inspects my heart to see if there is any unrepented sin. He checks to see if I have put on the whole armor of God. He looks at my hands to see if they are clean enough for me to do His work for the day.
God checks my feet to see if they are shod with the preparation of the Gospel and if I am ready to serve in the Kingdom of God. Then He taps the top of my shoe and sends me out into the vineyard.
Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion Still Exist
I don't know what the other students do who went to that elementary school and participated in Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion. As for me, Morning Devotion still follows Morning Inspection. Just as in that little country schoolhouse so many years ago, I still recite a scripture, pray a prayer, sing a song before I can consider myself ready for the activities of the day.
Needless to say, I learned more than reading, writing, and arithmetic in that little country two-room schoolhouse in rural Virginia.
You might have school memories of your own. They might include some habits you continue today. Hopefully, they are godly habits that you have never forgotten. I know I will never forget Morning Inspection and Morning Devotion.