Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ninety-nine Isn't One Hundred

Last Tuesday, as I do at the end of each school day,  I was standing in front of our upper school office in one of my unofficial roles of crowd controller. As often happens, I was standing with my colleague who fills the same unpaid role. I enjoy the five minute assignment; we get to say good bye to the kids for the day as well as remind some of missing homework/tests. We're often asked questions as well. Cindi fields inquiries about her availability to proctor make-up tests which is perhaps her most important task involving our student body. I get feedback from my classes as well as interactions with the kids who have moved past me to higher grade levels. On Tuesday, a young man stopped to speak with me about what was on his mind. It didn't have anything to do with a quiz or a memory verse. Actually, it had to do with something considered insignificant to many. What was on his mind was pennies. Truthfully, it might have been only one. Let me explain.

I hope this is not monotonous as I mention this several times in blogs this time of year but our WCS family has helped build and sustain Christian orphanages in Honduras and now Haiti for two decades. We collect loose change beginning in January and the kids turn their pennies/nickels/dimes/quarters in to me at the beginning of May. My students do all the sorting and counting before we deposit what we amass in plastic bank bags. That Tuesday morning, we had been counting pennies in that young man's eighth grade class. We didn't count much- only seven dollars worth of pennies to finish a bag of $25 which the previous class had not quite completed. That's what my student had on his heart. He had some problem formulating the words but he was afraid he might have miscounted his container of 100 pennies. Here's what is interesting. This youngster is the most careful, most deliberate student I've taught in years. My guess, based on his nature, is that he was perfectly accurate but in his mind he wasn't totally convinced. I reassured him of my confidence in his accuracy and he seemed to moved past it. When we counted again later in the week, he was back to being his same careful self. My prayer is that he never changes. 

When we start counting each May, I make a big deal about cheating. If we are under one penny/nickel/dime/quarter in a bag, we cheat the bank. If we are over one penny/nickel/dime/quarter in a bag, we cheat the kids we are trying to help in Honduras and Haiti. My goal is to get the kids to be aware of what they are doing. If we are intentionally silly or careless, there is a sense we are being dishonest. That struck a nerve with this young man. He wasn't being silly- he's very mature for a middle schooler. Mistakes happen, even honest ones, but he didn't want to make even the understandable kind. Jesus taught when we display trustworthiness in small matters it will lead to greater matters. With that in mind, I know a soon to be freshman who seems destined for amazing things. I'm counting on it.

Applicable quote of the day:
Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you. 

Rutherford B. Hayes

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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