My 20th WCS homecoming is approaching and some things you just take for granted. The following is from October 31 of 2005. The lovely Brooklynn is now a more grown up and even more lovely sixteen year old.
Her name is a Brooklynn and she is a four year old drama queen. Brooklynn will break hearts someday. Her mother, one of our Biology teachers at Westbury Christian School, is counting the days until her daughter graduates into the teenage ranks. Everybody loves Brooklynn, from her kindergarten classmates to the seniors just a year from college. She defines adorable. Brooklynn is good at toying with my affection. We have played on ongoing charade since she enrolled in WCS a year ago. I like hugs and she is a master at doling them out with extreme stinginess. Each morning when we pass before school, I ask, "Do I get a hug?" Her most frequent response is, "It's not Hug Day!" I press her. "When- tomorrow?" She almost always says "Sunday!" I remind her we go to different congregations and we don't see each other on Sundays but she won't budge. Sometimes, I try to trip her up by reciting the days of the week. "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Hugday." She's too smart for me; hasn't fallen for that one yet. If they had Jeopardy for four year olds, Brooklynn would make a killing. She is one bright little girl. But, every so often, on the rarest of days, she gives me the sweetest hug a child ever gave a grownup, making the game worthwhile. If I ever had a little girl, I would hope the Lord would bless me by using Brooklynn as a model.
Last week, we had Homecoming at WCS. Part of the tradition is that the seniors roll the school with toilet paper the night before the Homecoming game. This senior class has it down to a science. As the parking lot began filling at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, our school family witnessed an education complex as white as a Colorado mountainside after a January blizzard. It was a vision in three-ply Charmin. The toilet paper was everywhere- it was the best rolling job I've ever seen. We all knew it would happen but I was impressed with the extent of the coverage. The underclassmen laughed, the teachers remembered their high school pranks, and the seniors basked in their glory before cleaning up the mess. It's harmless- there's no damage and save for a few strands lingering in the trees, no real evidence left at the crime scene. No one takes it seriously. That is, no one except Brooklynn.
I saw her that morning when she came into school with her mother, her face registering distress. She asked me with the anguish of a little child, "What did they do to my school?" She was agitated. I passed her later in the morning as her class went for water at the hall fountain. Word for word, she repeated herself. "What did they do to my school?" Notice she didn't say THE school or OUR school. She used the first person possessive. We all understood the toilet paper escapade for what it was but Brooklynn perceived it as an unknown threat to her home away from home. She'll get over it; like I said, Brooklynn is gifted and well-adjusted with stability in her life. But if the stable ones can be shaken by something that minor, we have an obligation to be careful in the presence of all little ones. When I was two years older than Brooklynn, I asked my mother what happened to my grandmother who died while Mom was pregnant with me. "Your Aunt Jerry was at the house and she checked on Mother and then she went back in and your Grandmother was gone." Every adult understands what 'gone' means but it has totally different connotations to a six year old. For quite some time, I was terrified that people hang around outside your windows and snatch your body away as soon as you pass from this life. Eberhard Arnold noted that "Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder." He's right. They look with different eyes, think with different minds, hear with different ears, and thank God they have the innocence to believe in the goodness of adults. But they still scare easily. Our little ones at WCS shrink away from Clifford, the Big Red Dog on his visits to the elementary library. Some of our children run away at the sight of our mascot, a make-believe Wildcat with a student inside. Jesus loved and protected the youngest in society and had stern warnings for those who did not follow suit. There are a billion Brooklynns out there, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and languages. Do you recall the line from the old Bible school song: 'they are PRECIOUS in his sight?' That means they should be precious in our sight as well. Be an advocate for the kids, not just socially but spiritually. Watch what we say and watch what we do. In a world where chaos is running rampant, stand up for a child. Our efforts can bless generations. And remember, my favorite holiday may be just around the corner-HUGDAY!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives."
Maya Angelou (from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)
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