Monday, March 27, 2017

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

The kids in this story, from March 19, 2013, are now freshmen!
I was standing at the confluence of our hallways outside the upstairs office at the end of school this afternoon. Sometimes, it's good to have an adult just stand there as a presence for the kids to be reminded they are still inside. I don't do this as much as I used to- too busy- but it's a great way to say good-bye to students and stay connected with some youngsters not enrolled in my class this year. We had all-school chapel this morning and Greg Glenn, Westbury Christian's Head of School, led us in our devotional in which he referenced my blog from yesterday about Coach Jesus. As I stood in the hall at 3:30 PM while the students exited, Zak, one of my sophomore students, asked me, "Coach, what are you going to write about in your blog tonight?" I told him it was supposed to be a continuation of last night's entry but my awesome teacher's aide, Megan Hill, was having Internet issues as she typed it this morning so that's on hold until tomorrow. I did promise Zak a shout-out whatever I wrote so here it is!

When you teach, you never know what the day will bring. After lunch, I was walking down the intermediate school hallway when the fifth graders asked when I was going to bring them their Honduras crosses. Jarrod Brown from Mission Lazarus, a group we collect pennies for in Honduras, always send us little wooden crosses crafted by apprentice carpenters in Choluteca, Honduras as reminders of our duty to the less fortunate. I can't tell you how much of a big deal this is at WCS.  Well, I told this class of fifth graders who were waiting to enter Miss Fontenot's room that if they could be absolutely still for one minute, I'd go get them. They turned into statues! I had a problem- I'd already promised Amara, one of my sophomore students, that I would go over the material for a make up test with her in that same time period. On the spur of the moment, I decided Amara, who is a teacher's aide that period, would go with me as I distributed the crosses, sort of a Vanna White/Pat Sajak deal. None of the fifth graders in either of the two classes we visited quite knew who Amara was but they all knew she is Ariana's big sister. I explained the purpose of these bits of wood and where they came from and the children were so excited! We always let the girls come up first and Amara distributed them, with some requiring untangling of the strings. She was a pro and interacted with these little ones like you would assume a big sister would. I came to the conclusion rather quickly that Amara would make a wonderful teacher if that's what she chooses in several years. Some people are just naturals and Amara fits that description.

And as we walked back upstairs to the high school hallways, Amara and I talked about how fifth graders are so neat. They love me because they see me in chapel and in basketball camp and they identify me with Honduras and they loved Amara because she was with me. Fifth graders aren't too cool, yet. They show enthusiasm without shame and they want to do what's right, even though they struggle with the decision making process. Sometimes as we get older, we can be much more self conscious about our faith even though it should be deepening on a daily basis. Paul wrote this in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16:
" For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..."
Sometimes I wish I had the simple faith of a fifth grader and approached life as many of them do. You know, we didn't talk about anything terribly deep today. It was not a serious theological discussion, just a reminder of those poor who Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy, prophesied will always be present in the world. Sometimes, we talk about someone and say they wear their heart on their sleeve. Tonight, I know a bunch of kids who are wearing their faith around their necks. They may not comprehend the depth of meaning that it represents but we hope someday they will. All I know is that today, these still little ones are not ashamed of Jesus. They should teaching some of their elders.

*The young lady at the top is Tam who played middle school basketball for me at WCS nine years ago but still wears her Honduras cross!*

Applicable quote of the day:
"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown."
    William Penn

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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