Monday, December 01, 2014

Approval Rating

I don't see Margaret, the young lady in the story below, as much as I used to. She's a grown up sixth grader and a cheerleader now! My fashion sense has developed due at least in part to Margaret. Now, my student teacher's aide, Minna, picks out what I wear each day but I still seek Margaret's approval when we pass in the hall! This is from April 14, 2010.

I live for her approval. Doubtless, many of us are enslaved to the whims of others and allow ourselves to be controlled by their validations and blessings, or lack thereof. I seek her out at school every day, hoping to find enough affirmation to keep me going until I return to the confines of my apartment. Sometimes, I think she has tired of our interaction and sometimes, I think she just doesn't care. In recent weeks, I even accused her of not trying anymore. She denied it, but I wonder..... I don't want it to end like this.

I guess I have to go back to the beginning. A year ago in October, I passed her as we headed into All School Chapel. Without warning, or provocation, she cut me to the heart with these three words: "You don't match!'' The she in question was Margaret. Then in kindergarten, now in first grade, Margaret has been my fashion commentator since that fateful day eighteen months ago. Every time our paths cross now, she either gives me a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or a sideways thumb, the international symbol of average. No doubt, she's one tough critic but she comes by the gift naturally. Her mom, Katherine, told me yesterday that Margaret has aspirations of being a fashion designer. Katherine, our wonderful Westbury Christian School elementary art instructor, even divulged that Margaret is her advisor on fashion issues. I guess that puts me in good company!

You may think it's silly that it matters to me what a seven year old thinks; I don't. I try to dress respectably but it's a roll of the dice. (Angela, one of my sophomore students has accused me of intentionally mismatching 'just to make me mad,' a charge I vehemently deny!) Margaret has a gift that I don't have and she, in her own way, is refining my appearance. When my look is awkward, she scrunches up her face but when I'm coordinated, she almost beams! Proverbs 27:17 tells us that, 'As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.' Admittedly, I'm not very good with my Panasonic Steam Iron but that's another story for another blog. But the sharpen clause of that spiritual wisdom definitely applies. I dress more professionally because of Margaret and I believe there is a carryover to the classroom. The Bible is full of verses teaching that associating with people of good character improves our character. And in my mind, that's what Margaret is doing for me, one checked shirt and striped tie at a time. It may be a very long journey but at least, my belt and shoes are finally the same color.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The finest clothing made is a person's skin but of course, society demands something more than this.''
Mark Twain

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

7 comments:

Lynda Young said...

approval rating of this post: thumbs up. ;)

hevindester said...

This was a very entertaining piece and something we all share in. I especially loved the verse you included.

The need for approval is the topic of my next post on my own blog actually. Hope you stop by sometime to check it out!

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good application of Prov. 27:17. We often use that verse in reference to pleasant circumstances and friendship. But the context of it is conflict. And, iron sharpens iron through friction - conflict between the metals. It is often through the rough encounters, the brutal honesty of a Margaret, that our values and manners are oned. Great post.

DORCAS said...

Thank you! Love this post.
~blessings

Jeanette Gartner said...

Steve, I just had to laugh when I read this because it brought back a flood of memories. When my daughter, Rachel, was in kindergarten or first grade, she did a very similar thing to the new male P.E. teacher. She would critique his clothing selection and comment accordingly. He came to look forward to her observations and chuckled over them as he related them to me.

Doris Plaster said...

This is one the cutest stories I've read, humorous yet insightful. By the way, I can be a "little Margaret" sometimes... hehe

Sherry said...

Call me a romantic but I see the words you have not yet written. Some day you will have a woman so worthy and deserving of your affections- that there will come a time when every single day you will win Margaret's approval. That little girl sounds absolutely precious.