I usually just scan articles early in the morning, but one article forced my attention to read it to the end and then think about it. I reposted the article on facebook for all my teacher friends to read as well. The teacher in the story asked her students, every Friday, to bring to her desk a list of four students that would like to sit near the following week, with the disclaimer that their requests may or may not be honored.
This wise teacher was not looking to please her students or to make them happy with her with a new seating chart that would place them near their friends, she was looking for disconnection. And I quote,
“She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, this teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” This teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.”
When this teacher was asked how long she has been doing this, her response made me shiver, “Since Columbine.”
Then as I continue to meditate on Romans 12, for deeper meaning and for clarity about how to “enjoy the company of ordinary people”, I wonder how many times we read the Word, reflect and even revel in God’s Word to us, but then just feel good without doing any good, without changing our behavior as a result? Humbled. Convicted. This teacher’s action brings deeper meaning to God’s word.
“Get along with each other; don’t be stuck up. Make friends with nobodies: don’t be the great somebody.” Romans 12, Msg
“Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Romans 12:16, NLT
As we go along in life, on life’s “playground”, if you will, we need to make greater efforts to consciously look for those who are disconnected and just be a friend. Students, parents, young and old…many are disconnected. They sit in the pews every Sunday. Or not. They are at your local grocery store…he/she might even be the cashier you think is moving too slowly for you. Mm.
“Make friends with nobodies, don’t be the great somebody.”
Dear Heavenly Father, It’s not like you didn’t show us how to do this, for Your Son, Jesus Christ, came to many “nobodies” without being the great somebody and touched their hearts, reaching down to their very souls to bring everlasting life. I’m thinking even now of Jesus offering a lowly woman at a well the gift of Himself to quench her eternal thirst for life. And Lord, I’m humbled.
You came to the “least of these” of which I am one. Help me to look to You then see others in need of You and point the way back to You. It’s all about You, Dear Jesus. Help us be a difference for someone today.
By Your Power working in us and through us, and in Your Name, Amen