Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Fresh Set Of Eyes
William is an interesting young man. He's in his second year at WCS and he's from China. When he came into class one day last week, I asked if he'd just gone to the barber for a haircut- he had. I asked the cost- $32! This led to short discussion on the relative price of men's grooming. He told me in China it might take two hours for a cut which by the per hour rate would make his cheaper than mine! I also found out a number of the young men that period fork out considerable dough at the barber to look good- or maybe it's their moms who pay! I wouldn't know. Dad cut our hair up until we went to college. Here's the basic rule when your father is the barber: Never get it cut when he's mad. Oh well, we survived and saved a considerable amount of money at the same time.
Here is something I've noticed about William. When we read the scriptures and talk about Jesus' life, he sees things in a different light. For example, when we talked about why tax collectors were so despised, I used the traditional explanation that these men were taking money from their countrymen and giving it to the enemy who in turn suppressed them with their own taxes. William commented that if a publican gave their job up, someone would have simply taken their place. I agreed. If a drug dealer is arrested and locked up, my guess is that it won't be long before someone is selling on his corner. Recently, we covered the first miracle of Jesus, turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. We talk a bit about wedding customs and how wine was a symbol of joy. We speak about Mary pressuring Jesus to do something and how He said His time had not come yet. We discuss how the second wine was better than the first and how this first sign in the Gospel of John was witnessed only by a few. William's input? "Well, it sounds like poor planning to me!" And when I think about it, it sounds like poor planning to me as well. Maybe the crowd was bigger than expected or it was hot and they drank more but we would probably say the same thing at a wedding in our nation. Once again, I saw the story from a slightly different angle.
My view of life comes from my own eyes and my experiences. It's pretty set and changes only reluctantly. I coach basketball from the perspective of a man, a former player, and a traditional coach. It's not often I think of why a middle school girl plays the sport or wants to be on a team, mine in particular. I love what I teach in my classes, often forgetting many kids would rather be anywhere but in Room 258, taking notes and quizzes and memory verses and tests. Sometimes, I need to sit where my students sit for a day or so and try to understand their reasons for being there.... or their reasons for not wanting to be there. Our memory verse in all five classes today was the old short hymn, Lead me To Some Soul Today. I told my classes I have a hard time singing that truthfully because I have about one hundred souls in front of me on a daily basis and I need no leading. In John 4:35, Jesus is teaching His disciples about the opportunity before them that they could not see, even though it was Samaritan faces practically staring at their faces:
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
I'm not sure I totally need to have my eyes opened- maybe I just need to take off the figurative sunglasses that soften the clarity of my vision. Or maybe, just maybe, I simply need to pay closer attention to William and the other ninety-nine like him are trying to say to me.
Applicable quote of the day:
I don't know if it's because my father's from Argentina, that I'm the son of an immigrant, I don't know if its because I'm Jewish, but I have always been mindful that the best insights occur when you have some kind of an outsider perspective.
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:16 PM