I went to buy a few things at the store after worship tonight. As I got in the self check out line, who should be ahead of me but the one and only Sydney Parker, only one of the greatest girls ever! Sydney graduated from WCS two years ago and now is enrolled at the University of Houston. When she was a high school junior, every day, betwen fifth and sixth periods, Sydney would stand with me in my classroom doorway. Her next class was right across the hall from me but she waited in the entrance to Room 258 until the bell was about to ring. Sydney became the Unofficial Class Queen for my sixth period, 8th grade Bible class. We even had a spot taped for her on the door which simply stated, "Reserved For Sydney." The following is one of my favorite entries, penned about a slightly younger Sydney, written in April of 2006.
Last evening was Monday Night For The Master at our congregation. On Mondays throughout the school year, we eat supper together and then work together, usually in areas of outreach. With Daylight Savings in place, it was still light when I left for home. My school, Westbury Christian, and my congregation, Westbury church of Christ, share the same property. As I exited our campus via the driveway that bisects our facility, I saw a strange sight; a grown man and a girl running sprints on our soccer/football practice field, followed closely by a dog. On closer inspection, I discovered the young lady was Sydney, one of my eighth grade Bible students, and her sidekick training partner was her dad. They looked like they were having a blast! (So did Rover!) This morning, as my students trickled into Room 258, I pulled Sydney aside and asked her about her workout regimen. She smiled, like she always smiles. Sydney is an excellent softball player and is competing with a travel team now that the school season is completed. Her squad has big tournaments on the horizon and she wants to make sure she is in terrific shape. I inquired if the running was her idea or her father's; it was her suggestion. I should have asked whose idea his physical participation in was but that doesn't matter. Let me tell you what impressed me; a father spending time with his daughter doing what she loves to do. I know Sydney's dad and I know he is busy and exhausted at the end of the day. But, there he was on a hot night, running with his little girl. We spend our money on what we love. We spend our time with whom we love.
My eighth graders have a test tomorrow, number seven of the semester. We finished the section today by covering the story of the man commonly referred to as the Rich Young Ruler. This unnamed Israelite might be the equivalent of a modern day yuppie. He enthusiastically approached Jesus, asking about eternal life. After conversing with his questioner, Jesus told him he was slightly deficient BUT could rectify the situation by taking three steps:
1. Selling his goods
2. Giving the money to the poor
3. Following Jesus
You know the outcome- he couldn't do it. He walked away from the Lord but he couldn't walk away from his possessions. He knew what was right but he could not make himself follow through. Jesus told his shocked apostles that it was very difficult for the wealthy to make it into God's kingdom but it was still possible with the help of the Lord. In our lives, there is one thing we might have to surrender for the sake of our souls. With me, the struggle isn't so much finances but the clock. The hours remain constant but the demands on those minutes are mounting. It's easier for me to let someone else do my taxes, change the oil in my car, or hook up my computer. OK- if you know me, those are bad examples because I couldn't figure those tasks out in the first place but you get the drift. We spend money to avoid spending time. Families make fortunes while their children drift through childhood with benign neglect. I know it is murderous in a two income per family society. That's what I admire about Sydney's dad. You can't farm out quality time with your child to a subcontractor. He might have been huffing and puffing on that football field but he was stride for stride with his daughter. You don't think she'll treasure that memory? If you knew Sydney, you would know that kudos should be showered on her folks. Sydney didn't become Sydney by accident. Extremely bright, confident, and with a sense of politeness that echoes a bygone era, she is a great example of what a child can be in the care of parents who give what now may be the ultimate sacrifice in our culture, TIME. The clock is ticking for every child. We can't pull the autumn version of DST and reverse the clock but we can start today. The race is on.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I talk and talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in fifty years what my father taught me by example in one week."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org