Our physical bodies don't give us form. Information that we retain shapes us.

I have been reading a book on management entitled "Leadership and the New Science", by Margaret Wheatley. It's not a new work, but was only recently introduced to me. In this fascinating tome, Dr. Wheatley provides a layman's description of the field of quantum physics and then makes application of that weirdness to the way that things are.

Under this theory, we are forced to grapple with the concept that everything changes — all the time. Yet most of it retains an impression of a previous force. For example, we shed skin cells constantly. So many, in fact, that our outer surface is brand-new every month. Even our brain cells are replenished of their carbon, nitrogen and oxygen content every twelve months. But because of our "information memory," our physical bodies reform themselves around previous experience — at least to some extent.

Remember, it's a theory, but it explains some things. Like why I do certain things a certain way. Or remember people or events in a certain light.

My mother was a first grade teacher for more than twenty years. She did traverse to third grade one year during that span — the year that I was in first grade.

I'm sort of glad that she wasn't my first grade teacher. For one thing, she had been teaching me for years before I was introduced to "Tip" — the name of both the dog and my favorite first grade reader. We had already worked on writing and alphabets and numbers. She had already given me a lot of the essentials.

She was also my primary disciplinarian through my early years. Dad built highways. Thus, he was usually away during those hours of the day that I was most creative in my undertakings. And, in those early years, Mom believed that swift retribution was the most productive. My brother and I didn't wait around for Dad to get home for our punishments. Mom handled them right then and there.

Oddly, I don't remember any of those punishments particularly — other than the time I interrupted her several times on the phone and she sent me to solitary confinement in the bathroom until she finished her conversation. I know it probably just felt like hours, but my imagination of my possible sentence grew and grew during that time. Actually, she never did anything. Seems she had forgotten that she had banished me to "el bano." Perhaps she felt so guilty that the door was simply opened and I was set free. I think that was my earliest remembrance of grace.

But that time aside, I think I don't remember the punishments because I have also chosen not to remember the infractions that precipitated them. In fact, unlike some of the people whose stories appear on the "Lifetime" channel, I am confident that I was never punished for something I didn't do. Looking back, I can say that I am a better person because Mom took time to notice what I was doing and to encourage or correct me.

Others have said similar things about her. Hundreds of kids were in her classroom through the years. Most of them have told me about their love for their first grade teacher and how they enjoyed being in her class. And they all remembered one phrase.

"I'm going to pinch the 'Willy-Goo' out of you!"

Back in those days, when teachers were encouraged to have a more "hands-on" approach to dealing with students, this was no idle threat. Many of Mrs. Cope's kids went home to a conversation like this.

"How was school today?"

"Well, it happened. I had the 'Willy-Goo' pinched out of me."

To my knowledge, not one parent called our house to inquire in regard to the extraction of "Willy-goo." There was an understanding. My mother was not an idle purveyor of pinches, but those pinches were gentle course corrections. And even though they were memorable, the recollections are not those of horror or injustice.

None of us ever actually saw "Willy-Goo." Just Mom — the picture of a kind woman who cared enough to notice, to encourage, and to correct.

If important information does form us, the pinch of the "Willy-Goo" could be the answer to many of the world's problems.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11)