Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cups Of Cold Water

In case you didn't know, Houston is a hot and often humid place to live and there is the need for its citizens to stay hydrated. Our school is well air conditioned but kids still get thirsty, especially the kids in sports. Like all schools, we have a number of water fountains scattered around our halls but with four minute passing time slots, they aren't always practical when you have to make a trip to your locker. Students are not allowed to bring any sort of drinks into the classrooms for reasons that take time to explain but with which I am in concurrence. Not long after this school year began, I began filling my smallish IGLOO cooler with ice water and sitting it at the front of my room. I have a number of coffee mugs I keep in a cabinet for my twice-a-year finals review plus I had some leftover styrofoam cups from those same review sessions. It was a hit but you know what happened; the cups ran out and the ceramic ones just couldn't keep pace and the cold water just about tapped out. That brings me to James.

Unless they are in my classes which doesn't happen until eighth grade, or on my basketball team, which limits it to only one gender, I don't really know our middle school kids very well. I teach three high school classes and eat lunch with our elementary grades so I don't have as much contact with our junior high as you might think. I knew who James was when school started in August but that was about it. He seemed like a nice young man and I've found that to be true. I've also found him to be smart and caring. Today, his class penned notes to some good folks who have helped WCS and the words James wrote were particularly touching. Last week, he brought me some homemade apple cobbler in a Tupperware container and it was excellent! I'm not saying it helped his grade but.... it didn't hurt it either! But back to the water. When we ran out of our non-reusable utensils, James took it upon himself to go to the store and buy us some more, a package of eighty to be exact. Last week, he did it again, this time purchasing two bags of eighty cups. That supply is running out now but like the first bunch, it has been both utilized and appreciated. I even have brought coasters from home to keep our desks dry. I typically serve as waiter while the kids take their quizzes. If I ever were to give up teaching, I would kill it at IHOP!

James' small act of kindness doesn't seem like a big deal but like most small gestures, it has a ripple effect. The kids in my class are more likely to be focused, less likely to ask to go to the water fountain, more apt to feel comfortable, and thus more likely to make good grades. I have north of eighty five students, really good kids, in my five Bible classes but James is the only who did something about others' needs. Others might have thought about it but he followed through, which means he thought about it after school was released at 3:25 PM. You know where I'm going with this because everyone in the Christian world can at least semi-quote Jesus from Matthew chapter 10 and verse 42: 
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
Easy to quote, simple to plan, not always easy to accomplish. Some rewards are more eternal than points on a test or bonus on a memory verse. They don't show up in our RENWEB grading system but make no mistake, they are being tallied somewhere. And my belief is that Jesus is more than just an adequate accountant of that reward system. Drink up!

Applicable quote of the day:
Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort. 
Humphry Davy

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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