The memory verse we learned Tuesday in all five of my classes was James 1:22-24:
"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.''
We discuss the meaning and I bring up that Mom, in her late stages of Alzheimer's, did not recognize her own image. I tell the kids that sometimes at the end of the day, I look at myself in the mirror, and don't always like what I see. The kids finished this statement: 'When I look in the mirror, I see....' Every student is allowed complete confidentiality and some years, I do not even read any that request privacy. My students are very honest; some of their reflections will choke you up as you see yourself during your teenage years. Over the next few nights, I'll run some of the responses of those who were willing to share; boys are in blue and girls are in pink. These will be a mixture of 8th graders-freshmen-sophomores-juniors-seniors.
When I look in the mirror I see a misunderstood young man. I see a young man who has severe trust issues, yet, is just looking for someone to put his trust in. Sometimes I look in the mirror and it is a foggy image because I am still unsure about many things in life like who I am, what I will be in the future, who to trust, and what a true friend is. When I look in the mirror the image changes but when I turn away I know I am a young man growing to know the world and how it really works.
When I look in the mirror, I see a young lady who is very excited about how God will use her in life. I see her praising God every day and night and asking God every time she has to make a decision, no matter it is big or small. I see her smiling and having a positive mind in every circumstance. When I look in the other side of the mirror, I see a young girl who is afraid of being an adult with the pressure and the responsibility. I see her who feels lost and lonely although she knows great parents and friends are surrounding her. I see her crying out like a little girl because she has fear about the future.
When I look into the mirror I see a young man who has a life set up for success, but sometimes fails; with God and with life. I see a young man who has had the best role models in the world like an older brother who has been through the same things. I see someone who doesn’t have a true best friend and someone who can’t trust that one person they used to have. I see someone who has succeeded in sports and academics, which have come easy, but feels that he don’t have REAL friends that most people have. I wonder why that is, what I did for that to happen. Sometimes I think it is my fault, and that I wish I was something else. But in reality, the guy in the mirror is someone who is more mature than his age, who is blessed beyond belief by God. He has family who loves him so much, an understanding of the Word of God, but can’t follow it sometimes. And sometimes, he doesn’t realize all the things he should be thankful for in life. I see a person who is so conflicted with the smallest things that don’t even matter in life. When I look into the mirror...I see...?
When I look into the mirror, I see a girl who lies to her friends about her happiness. When I look in the mirror, I see an insecure girl who tries to make others the same. When I look in the mirror, I see someone who doesn’t try enough to have a better future. When I look in the mirror, I see a girl trying to do what she used to love. When I look in the mirror, I see a girl trying to watch out for herself while struggling with family problems. When I look in the mirror, I see someone who is trying to be a better person but is stopped by labels. But I know God has a reason for everything so I have to trust him to know what He is doing.
When I look in the mirror I see a boy, lost, and losing hope in everything, having little trust in every person he sees, except a small group he truly trusts. I see a young man seeking answers to his questions and problems. But he covers up his problems, and displays a fun, joyful persona, so that his problems don’t infect others around him. His biggest joy, the only thing that makes him happy, is seeing others, no matter who they are, being happy, and enjoying their lives.
When I look in the mirror, I see a girl with a distorted real view of the world. I see a girl with so many dreams it’s hard to contain them and she never knows if she’ll make it there. I see a girl who wants to be free from containment- her thoughts are always elsewhere. I see a girl who views the world differently that she's made fun of and put down and judged and I see a girl who despite that doesn’t release her beliefs. I see a girl who wants to do so much more but can’t because of financial difficulty. When I look in that mirror, I see a writer and a girl with a huge imagination. I see a girl who despite every evil she knows is going on in the world and how trapped and helpless she feels to stopping it, still puts a smile on her face and is known for how much she smiles.
Applicable quote of the day: