Our family of five filed into the small elementary school. We followed the path of acquaintances, friends and strangers ... family night at school. It was the night set aside for students and families to come in and meet the teachers ... find the classrooms and "get comfortable" with the surroundings ... before the first official day of school.
Our family found the room where one of my boys would spend 5 days a week for the next nine months. The walls were covered in alphabet, numbers, birthday candles, weather signs ... it smelled of new crayons and finger paint. I smiled and followed James as he ran his fingers across the large desks and then shelves filled with colorful books. He found friends he hadn't seen all summer and they began to tell tales of lazy summer fun.
We stopped to meet the teacher and I noticed a small blond haired boy ... tearing up. It was only family night and his fears, uncertainty were already "getting the best of him." I felt like a fist clenched around my heart ... too much of my school years were spent the same way ... fearful, uncertain. I felt for that little boy and for his mommy. He whimpered in his mother's shoulder ... "Everybody's gonna pick on me." Again, my heart ... being picked on ... again the same for my childhood ... school hood.
Then, the teacher did something ... said something ... She put her hand on his back, leaned down on his level and said "That won't happen in my classroom. We'll be having too much fun to pick on each other. You're going to make some really good friends this year ... I promise."
In that moment, she earned his trust. He looked up at her with bright blue eyes and smiled. She returned the smile and a wink to his mommy. I immediately liked this teacher. There was something in her eyes ... I knew she was going to keep that promise.
And, she did. Her classroom held no tolerance for "making fun", "picking on" ... all of the kids made good friends. They did have fun. Too much fun for there to be any time for other things ... lesser things ... hurtful things.
What if our lives were like that? What if ... we were so busy loving others that we didn't have time for hurtful things?
I find myself giving time to thoughts, feelings and actions that are hurtful. Hurtful to me and to others. And, then ... I don't have enough time to spend on the good things ... on love ... mercy ... grace. Things that make me feel good, things that make others feel good ... things that please God.
This week, I'm challenging myself. Less time for hurtful things and more time for love.
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."