Catherine apologized to me after school today. You see, she is going to miss our Finals review tomorrow as she will be in the middle of an AP exam. As she has a 100% average this semester in Gospels, I think we will get by.I wrote this about Catherine and her sister eight years ago. Catherine is now a junior and Christina a freshman and both are amazing girls! Can we learn about life from Girl Scout cookies? Please read on, from 1-17-07.
It was an even split. About half of my students thought I matched and half just shook their heads in disbelief. It was one of the rare days when my dress shirt was not blue, white, or white with blue pinstripes. Yesterday's shirt was a green and brown check mix. I wore the shirt for its warmth with the temperature outside flirting with the freezing mark. The shirt wasn't the topic of discussion in class, though; it was the tie. This particular neck wear was maroon with a rain forest scene, complete with frogs and toads. The bonus question on the quiz dealt with the name of the tie company. ( Correct answer- Endangered Species) I talked to my current students about the former student who gave this tie to me. I even mentioned her by name to make sure no one knew her- no one did. She was only here for two years when I first came to Houston. What I remember most was her family situation. Her folks had divorced and her dad was into drugs, having spent time in rehab. Her mother had remarried and had an adorable little girl with the stepfather. She wanted to live with her father but because of his lifestyle, it was impossible. But she felt left out by her mom and her mom's new husband, especially in regards to her younger sister. She felt trapped and she felt as if she had no hope. In the place she wanted to fit in most, she had no niche, no special feeling of acceptance. She was miserable and saw no way out. She asked me to pray for her and I did. I still do. There is no telling what happened to this young lady who is about twenty-two by now. She left no forwarding address, just a maroon tie with frogs and toads.
When I talked to my classes about my long-ago student, it was evident that a number of my kids can relate to her plight. I can't and I am glad I can't even though I do my best to commiserate. Instability in that girl's home life, either real or imagined, led her to doubt that she had a place where she belonged. She had an additional burden to bear and she rarely seemed happy. Kids who never have to question whether they are loved or wanted at home, whether it be a one or two parent family, may still struggle but they have something to fall back on. After our game yesterday, Catherine (third grade) and Christina (first grade) corralled me as I left the gym. The sisters were adorably outfitted in their Brownies' outfits, selling Girl Scout Cookies. I did my duty: one box of Thin Mints. (I demanded my cookies today. Apparently, there is more than a 24 hour turnaround!) I love their family. Their dad is on our board of directors and their mother is a pediatrician. These sisters have two middle school brothers who are active in just about everything Westbury Christian has to offer. By spending just a few minutes with these little girls, you can tell about their home life without setting foot in their house. They carry themselves with the assurance that they are loved. My dad preaches a sermon called The Blessing, based on the way mothers and fathers give their approval to their children. Catherine and Christina have been blessed by their mom and dad. The girl who gave me the tie was not, or at least felt she was not. Maybe her parents simply did not have it to give. The apostle John assures us in his first epistle with these words:
"How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1st John 3:1)
That is the definition of blessed assurance. If only everyone could feel that love! I know two who do and one who did not.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The family is the school of duties, founded on love."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org