Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Honest Truth
Nichole was flushed coming into class today. She has PE right before her 7th period Bible 1 class and Coach Ott is making them work! She turned in the card she started in class on Friday for Josh Hernandez' grandmother whose husband passed on Christmas Day. Nichole's card was beautiful and elegant and thoughtful. When I asked her how long it took to make the card, Nichole told me three days but I think she probably meant parts of three days. You see, Nichole is from China and like many international students, the nuances of English are problematic. I have no problem with the nuances of Mandarin- my vocabulary consists of US, hello, thank you, a little, and watermelon. (We ate watermelon frequently in the orphanage where I stayed for a month in rural Hunan Province!) Nicole is an absolutely wonderful young lady, the kind of youngster who makes teaching a joy and not just a paycheck!
I have two students who keep me hopping in my seventh period class which is predominantly international teenagers from Asia with the occasional student from Ecuador and Tanzania thrown in for good measure. One is Nichole and the other is Leo, who is also from China. They constantly ask for definitions during quizzes and I am happy to oblige. I particularly enjoy Nichole's, "Excuse me, please??" always prefaced with a huge smile when she needs clarification on a term on her quiz. She is so dedicated to her schoolwork and wants it to be perfect. I don't think I'm breaking any confidentiality laws by revealing her grade went up seven points from the first nine weeks to the second and she has maintained that high A average through the first ten grades of this new third nine weeks.
Today, our quiz covered John 4:1-26, one of Jesus' famous encounters, the one with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well in the village of Sychar. Question 1 read as follows:
14. Jesus tells her that God wants people to worship Him in ____________ and ______________.
With my background of having a church of Christ preacher for a dad, I could have answered that correctly by age four. The right answers are, of course, spirit and truth. After we had finished grading the quizzes, Nichole approached me with a smile on her face and "Excuse me, please??" She had her sheet of the side by side translations of the verses in English and Mandarin and explained that she used the word honest instead of the word truth because that's how she interpreted it in her native language. Now, I'm flexible but I really am picky with quizzes because that's the best way to insure the students read the Word closely. I told her I would look at it and I did and her wrong answer just became correct. Do you see that symbol at the top of the page? That's the traditional Chinese symbol for honesty but I only know that because Google tells me so. I know one might be able to make a case that something can be true and not be honest and vice versa but that's not the point. Don't we use honest truth as an example of redundancy? Here's another lesson I heard from Dad; the Bereans were noble in Acts 17:11 because they searched the Scriptures daily. That's what Nichole and many of her classmates are doing daily- searching the Scriptures. That's pretty noble to me. And in case you are wondering, the online Merriam-Webster explains noble as having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.) I like that word in red there towards the end- sounds like the definition of someone I know.
Applicable quote of the day:
"It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:16 PM