Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Mistake

This time tomorrow, I'm grading finals and  it will be tedious!! One demand I make of my students is that they read the Bible. Each Monday when we come into class, I project the assignments for the week on the screen in front of the class. Sometimes, we are not as accurate as we need to be in copying down our homework and it leads to problems. The following is from May 5, 2006.

We began my sophomore Bible class today during second period as we do quite often, with a quiz. I estimate we have taken close to one hundred such mini-tests this school year. Amazingly, I have discovered that students are much more apt to read assigned material, and read it thoroughly, if there is a grade involved. Our tenth graders at Westbury Christian take The Life Of Christ as part of their required curriculum. All our readings are from the Gospels of Matthew-Mark-Luke-John, although some of our memory verses have come from the epistles. We usually have several minutes to review before we pray and I hand out the quizzes. As the first students received their papers this morning, almost immediately I heard, "Coach, you gave us the wrong quiz!"
My response?
"No, I didn't."
They were insistent but, of course, incorrect. This is what happened. Each Monday when they walk into class, the week's assignments are written on the board. It is their responsibility to write the quiz/memory verse/test down in their notebooks. Of course, only one of them on the right side of the room took the time to do so one week ago today. It was Marian, one of my best students. The homework assigned for the weekend was a quiz over John 11. Marian inadvertently put the 11 in front of John which changes it to a Roman numeral. In her notebook, the assignment was a quiz on Second John, an extremely short book consisting of only thirteen verses. The students who abdicated their obligation asked her what the quiz covered. She correctly told them what she had transcribed, which unfortunately was incorrect. Needless to say, the grades were very poor on that side of the room. On the other side, where the students last Monday did what I asked them to do, there was no confusion and the grades were much higher. There is a parable in this scenario, I'm sure!

It doesn't take much of a mistake to cause a much bigger problem, does it? Moving numbers from the right to the left of a word completely changed its meaning and its interpretation. Relying on other people to handle our thinking causes headaches as well as heartaches. It was a little thing, just a quiz grade. In truth, because I give so many grades in my classes, it did not seriously hurt anyone's chances to keep their A for the six weeks. But history is full of examples of societies that allow a few influence makers to dictate the thought process for an entire nation, negating any input from what should be an informed electorate. Christianity has also been laced with movements fueled by lack of knowledge of the scriptures by the common people. I am saddened by how little Bible literacy my students as a group possess, especially knowing their parents usually have some sort of a religious background. So much of what these youngsters believe is similar to the situation with Marian; passed along without double-checking and accepted without question or personal research. The bright spot is that their parents want them to be in a Christian environment, learning what the Lord has to tell us through the Word. That's where I come in. Marian, bless her heart, can afford to mess up. I cannot.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Learn from the mistakes of others- you can never live long enough to make them all yourself."
John Luther

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Jon said...

that is a pricelss story coach

Candy Linder said...

This is so true about life. One simple mistake can cause multiple mishaps-all done very innocently. We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus to give us the straight path!