Pastor earns character honor
July 30, 2017 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer
“Integrity is the essence of everything successful.”
That quote by American author and architect Buckminster Fuller fits right in with the philosophy of life of an Orangeburg woman who has tried to display sound moral character as a pastor, mother and educator.
Mozella Isaac has spent more than 20 years molding young minds as an early childhood teacher and ministering to the needs of her community as pastor of a local church. The loving wife and mother makes her family a priority as she works to be a good example for her husband and their two sons.
Isaac's propensity for delivering an encouraging word and helping hand in a spirit of honesty and truth within the classroom, her church and her home has led to her designation as the exemplification of integrity for the month of July as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.
She said she is grateful for the recognition.
"I was at a loss for words actually. I was excited and surprised only in the fact that someone even considered nominating me for that. It's an honor,” she said.
Isaac started her career as an early childhood educator in Calhoun County, where she taught for 21 years before coming to Orangeburg. She taught for seven years at Mellichamp Elementary School and one year at Brookdale Elementary School before retiring.
“I retired from Brookdale, where they assigned me as the gifted and talented teacher for kindergarteners, which was a new program they started,” Isaac said.
She describes what having integrity actually means to her.
"When I think of the word integrity, I think of honesty, fairness, being transparent and being able to balance with fairness. I say that because from an early age, my mom always practiced the same thing. She was firm yet fair. She tried to exemplify the good things that she taught, too,” Isaac said.
“I felt that was very important. It was important so much for my students because they needed to see that in me,” she said, noting that as a teacher, she prided herself in being able to be fair with all of her students regardless of their background, color, or socioeconomic status.
“I just thought that it was important because so much damage can be done to children when you treat them differently or unfairly,” said Isaac, who is pastor of Bethany Full Gospel Church in Orangeburg, where her mother also served as pastor.
She said it is also important to demonstrate integrity within the church.
“You have various people from various backgrounds, and it’s important that people see this in you. As a pastor and as a Christian, of course, people are always looking at your life to see that you're going to be consistent in the way that you treat everyone else,” Isaac said. She said it is important not to give preferential treatment to anyone in the church, classroom, or anywhere else.
Isaac is the daughter of the late James Moses Boyd, who died when she was just 2 years old, and the late Leila Miller Boyd Mims. She said her mother was an excellent role model for her and her six siblings.
“Her motto to us growing up was, 'I'm not gonna let my children cause me to go to hell.' We had to be careful. She was like, 'I'm gonna tell you the truth because I don't want you to be the cause of you not doing what you're supposed to do.' And in the church, she would always tell us, 'I'm not gonna allow you to do things that I won't allow other people to do,’” Isaac said.
She and her husband, Herbert, are the parents of two sons, Joshua, 23, and Jonathan, 19. She said she tries to instill the same good character in her sons that her mother instilled in her.
"I say to them the same kind of things my mom would say. I try to teach them how to live outside of their parents because I know that they need to survive in this world. So, it is important for them to garner the character of honesty, fairness and just being open to correction," Isaac said.
“I show my sons that the Bible says in the book of Proverbs -- that a wise man will hear and increase learning. So, I share those kinds of things with them. No matter how much you know, it's important for you to hear so that you will increase your learning."
She added, “When my son went away to college, my oldest one especially, he said, 'Mom, I want you to know that the things that you and Dad are teaching me I haven't forgotten.' It just blessed me to hear that because you do want to know that your children are living examples of what you say and what you do."
Isaac said she is equally proud of the Community of Character initiative’s efforts to foster good character.
"I think it's awesome, it's amazing. And I say that because when one of my sons was in fifth grade at Sheridan Elementary School, he was selected as the Character Student of the Month. It was through the character program," she said.
“So, it was amazing to see that what you do as a parent is being seen in your children. It brought joy to my heart."