Invitation: See Beyond What You See

What you see is not what’s real
There is so much more than what you feel.
Look beyond where you are
What has happened so far.
Look again and see
What could be.

Yesterday I visited a local dress shop to see what new fashions were on display. I often stop by this particular shop because they are always changing their display cases. Yesterday while admiring the blouses and slacks in the latest fall colors, I spotted a mother and 3 or 4 year old daughter in the shoe department. Mom was trying on some cute shorty boots and little “Katie” decided to join in on the fun. She took off a shoe and sock and grabbed a shoe to try it on. I smiled because “Katie” was so cute and excited to get her hand on a the pretty tan suede shoe within her reach. Mom didn’t think it was fun. She suddenly slammed down the shoe she was holding, gripped “Katie” by the shoulder and told her, “I told you to stop. Just stop.” She sat “Katie” on the floor and began putting her shoes back on. “Katie” turned her face away and began to cry.

Katie’s feelings were hurt and so were mine. As I watched, I heard the Lord say, “That is why some of your students behave the way they do.” As I stood and watched them leave the store I wondered how many of my students had similar experiences when they were younger. I am currently in my fifteenth year of teaching junior high students and I have met some very angry, attention seeking teens. I admit I forget that not all children come from families who nurture and show them love on a regular basis. Not all children have adults who believe they have potential and try to help them know their worth–that they matter.

Reflecting on “Katie’s” experience at the dress shop reminds me that I have to look beyond how my students behave and look for the potential that is within them. Children often imitate what they see adults doing, so I have to be intentional about showing kindness and patience. I have to show them something different than what they are used to seeing.

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The street in front of my house ends in front of the woods adjacent to our lot. The plants in the picture posted here bloomed at the edge of the street. During the summer there was nothing blooming there, but after weeks of rain and intense humidity, there they stand.

When my students start imitating the adults who hurt them, I am challenged to show them how they can bloom even in the desolate places of their lives. We all have potential to color the earth with love.

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert. (NKJV)

 

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