Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Spirit Of 76

My room at school is cold at times, and at times it is extremely cold. In fact, many of our upper school class rooms are frigid at various intervals. I'm no expert but I'd guess it has to do with the building being close to forty years old. On the other hand, I like it! I would much rather be cold than hot because at school, you can add clothes when you are chilly but you can't shed them with the same ease. With that said, I keep about eight WCS jackets/pullovers/long-sleeve shirts in my classroom for the days when the temperature is low. (It should be noted that our students can only wear Westbury Christian School coats once the day begins.) I wear oxford dress shirts so my arms are covered anyway. My students just come up to the front of the room and get one if so inclined. During my off periods, some of my former students come by and ask if they can borrow one as well. I always say yes which is how Lyanne came to wear one of my jackets last Wednesday.

A junior, Lyanne has been a student of mine twice and she's the  reason the kids in my classes hold stuffed animals but that is a story for another day. I wasn't in when she returned it so she left it hanging on my door. She also left an explanation on a tiny blue sticky note. It read as follows:
Coach Hawley,
In the jacket I borrowed, there are some coins in the pocket. So you might want to ask your classes if it's theirs. (smiley face)

-thank you-

I checked. Lyanne was right to the tune of .76, three quarters and one penny. Rarely would I know who wore it last but this time I remembered. It was not a student but Christy McDonald, our Upper School Administrative Assistant. (Our office can also be on the polar side!) When I inquired of Christy, she recalled the change left in the pocket but it actually belonged to her oldest daughter. The seventy-six cents returned to the rightful owner and it's not a big deal.

And yet it is. Most kids would have taken the finders keepers path. After all, it could have been anybody's and it wasn't much money. But that's not the path Lyanne is on. Our culture downplays both small acts of honesty and small displays of dishonesty. But Jesus taught that the amount is inconsequential as a predictor of integrity. In Luke 16:10-11, the Savior put it like this:
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 
I would say seventy-six cents qualifies as very little which qualifies Lyanne to be trusted with much. I tell my students that others watch everything we do. She didn't tell me to show how transparent she is. She was simply being herself, an honest young lady. And if I write her college recommendation letter next year, the matter of her integrity will be part of my vouching for her qualifications for acceptance into an institution of higher learning. Trust me on that.

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