You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
The last days of school are crazy! It’s always a mix of emotion and the anticipation of summer freedom tossed in with the teachers efforts to keep kids engaged and productive creates quite a sight. Since the school year has been so weird, the final days have had an added element of weirdness as well! Yesterday was the 6th graders last day and amidst the frenzy I saw a simple, quiet lesson unfold.
The last day was a little like a freight train leaving the station. We started by emptying and cleaning desks and lockers and the energy built momentum like that train was headed downhill. There was laughter, chaos and multiple attempts to see how close they could get their toes to the line. As the day went on they continued to pick up speed and it was a mix of excitement, nervousness about leaving a place they were familiar with and middle school silliness. By mid afternoon the volume from our classrooms was at an all time high. And then it wasn’t!
You might wonder what happened that allowed forty noisy, excited, nervous, giggling frenzied adolescents to fall silent…for 45 minutes. You might be wondering what stopped that freight train of emotion and movement…it was 6th Grade Send Off. It’s one of my favorite St. Mary School traditions and it happens on the last afternoon of the 6th grade school year. The whole school gathers to send them off and the teachers who have been a part of their life for the past seven years one, by one, share memories of their class. Each teacher offers advice to grow in discipleship and a piece of wisdom from Scripture and the Saints.
Yesterday, more than any other year, they listened with complete focus. The noise and chaos was gone because they wanted to hear the teachers they loved and respected speak positive things about them and offer their wisdom to them. They wanted to hear what they'd done well, they wanted to know that they were valued and would be remembered. They wanted to take the good advice of people who loved them and they wanted to laugh. It’s not a time to talk about mistakes and shortfalls, it’s a celebration of the good and the hopeful and the positive and they really needed to soak that all in. As I watched them soaking it all in I noticed their smiles, their tears their looks of accomplishment as they listened to the nods of approval from people who knew them, loved them and had seen them at their best and their not-so-best. They needed to know they would be missed and that they had left a good print.
As I stood there, eyes sweating, I realized that’s really what we all need. We need to be affirmed. We need to know that we’ve left a good print and that we are valued. We all need to have someone close to us point out our good and we need to be offered the hope and encouragement of Scripture and Saints every now and again. We need to know we matter! It is the nature of the twelve year old to test and push and sap your patience dry; it’s what they do but no matter what silly stunts they’d pulled, it all melted from my mind as I saw them standing there at send off. It didn’t matter because when you really care about someone, realizing they are God’s child, it’s easy to focus on the good. I suppose that’s a lesson the Father wants to glue in our mind. When he gazes at us, he doesn’t see our noise, our shortfall, our “freight train” moments, he sees the good, the potential and the best efforts of the child he loves. So you see, that event for the kids…I guess maybe it wasn’t just for them.
A Seed To Plant: Pick three people today and tell them something positive. Let them know in some way that they are loved, valued or appreciated.
Blessings on your day!
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