Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The New Girl



She was sitting outside the upper school office this morning on the floor, back up against her locker, as I was about to enter. Truthfully, I can't even remember why I was going inside the office.  It was the first day of the new semester and it was obvious she was new and looking lost. In a small school like ours, you know the kids and the ones you don't recognize are transfers. I turned around and introduced myself. She told me her name and that her family had just moved here from a town several hours from Houston. Changing schools is tough and the toughness factor is squared if the move comes mid-year and pardon me if this sounds sexist, if you're a girl. I welcomed the young lady and said I hoped I would be her Bible teacher someday. I'm not sure I quelled her fears but I tried.

 As I walked back down the hall to my room, I bumped into Wendy, one of my favorite students who herself went through being unknown when she and her sister, Abigail, enrolled last year. I mentioned to Wendy that there was this young lady who doesn't know anyone sitting around the corner: would you mind going by and introducing yourself? Wendy acted like I had done her a favor and as soon as she closed her locker, she made a beeline to her assignment. I passed by several minutes later and they were sitting on the floor talking. I passed by again in a couple of minutes and they were walking down the stairs together. That was awesome; talk about going the extra mile. Wendy had put her morning on hold for someone she had never seen before. but it gets better.  I stand in the hallway in front of the office at the end of the day, sort of another set of eyes for crowd control. You know what I saw? Wendy and the new girl were chatting in front of Wendy's locker. I walked by and thanked Wendy for the gift card she and her sister had blessed me with today for Christmas. Wendy objected, "Please don't thank me, Coach!" I asked, "If I gave you a gift, would you thank me?" Her response? "Of course, Coach!!!!" We laughed but I left them thinking this: the best gift Wendy gave today wasn't to me.

From a school perspective, I cannot tell exaggerate how important Wendy's interaction this morning was. I've seen teenagers move into a new school and withdraw within a day or two, feeling they're alone on an academic island. Making a connection is vital. I think it's doubly so when a child comes from a large public school, as this girl has, and finds herself in a small private one where friendships are established, rules are strict and sometimes baffling, and uniforms are worn. I read one time this guy said something like, 
"I was a stranger and you welcomed me." 
Oh yeah- that was Jesus! He went on there in Matthew 25 to expound that,
"
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." 
I guess Wendy met Jesus today. He was just disguised as a teenage girl from Bryan, Texas.

Applicable quote of the day:
God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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