Monday, May 16, 2016

Character Counts

Gratitude Year 4-Day 137: Today, I am grateful that character counts.

My dear friend...and a sister in so many ways... Donna, will spend her last days in the classroom. She has poured her life into countless children over the many years she has taught. One of those children was mine. 

Walker will always have a special place in his heart for Donna and the year he called her "Mrs. Roth". She is so easy to like that it is not wonder she would still make his list of favorite people. She is thoughtful, wise and good company. She led by example and created a safe, fun, quiet place to learn. Yes, we were so blessed to have her teach our son. 

He often shared "Mrs. Roth says..."  or more likely ""Donna said" once home.  She...graciously...kept Walker tales to herself. There is one I heard years later. It always makes me smile to think of it.

Remember the Thanksgiving turkey projects with multi-colored tails feathers from multi-colored pieces of construction paper? Let's just say that crafting and cutting were not on our Walker's list of high priority tasks...but he would never fuss at Donna.  (She may have ranked higher than me on his favorite lady list on some days.) 

In that season of his life, Walker believed in getting things done fast. If it was not something he deemed worthy of his time... the faster the better. He decided to stack this colored feathers and cut them out all at once.  With 2nd grade scissors... even Fiskars... this would not result in pristine cuts. 

Donna smiled at efficiency and problem solving attempts he employed...but he needed corrective guidance. She gently instructed him with this line, "Walker, in second grade, cutting counts."  He needed the skill building, the practice and the pride in a job done well, not just done fast. She was teaching something else... character counts.  There is a way to get things done, but there is a right way, too. Doing our best reflects our character. 

There are times we want to just endure a task and get it done. We have no desire to give it our best. Still, there are clear instructions for the behavior of believers. 

 "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,1 Peter 2:11-13
The behavior of believers sends a message...a reflection...a light into the world. Or, it shames the cross. His grace... like rain... is a daily gift. Still, we are responsible to think before we act or speak.! The wagging tongue goes wild and thoughts of something being "not fair" slip in so quickly. 

Today...I will try to start with tongue and thoughts in check. I pray to make it until 9am...and then noon...and then 2pm. Sometimes I succeed...sometimes I don't. 

Today, I am grateful for the many years Donna was an example, a light and a kind word to children in the classroom and beyond her flock. I know she will continue to love, teach and impact children...just in a different place and space. 

Today, I am grateful that character counts.

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