The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Student D's Mama and the Phone Call

Greeting Everybody.
This morning I want to talk about something pretty cool that happened yesterday.
It's about a young African American student of mine and a phone call that I had yesterday with her mama.

Here's a bit of the background on this one:
-This young woman is very polished, very intelligent, and very pretty, and an 
 accomplished musician.
-She has poise, dignity and a great wardrobe.
-But she has few friends, an unsmiling face, and ensconces herself in a rather snooty

It's VERY rare for her to smile or deign to verbally engage with one of the "Lesser-lings" in the class.

And I have wondered all year long where such an attitude could have come from.

She is an ice block!

There have been times when I have been able to break through, so that I have seen the child within, but she keeps herself so very removed from the human dynamic 99.9 % of the time.

So, the other day, she created a visual aid to go with a speech presentation and it was a little bit disturbing.
The Title of the Speech is The 4 Corners Speech

I tell my students that the world will always try to bring us down and that it is important to know where our strengths come from.

In this assignment they take a blank sheet of paper, divide it into 4 quadrants and then place an image in each one:
-the most important symbol of your life, 
-the most healing color to your mind, 
-the most important word or phrase of your life, 
-and most important person in your life.

I take the time to tell the kids that this is NOT something superficial and that the images selected should be so deeply ingrained in you that they would be suitable to be carved in your own headstone.  

This assignment is designed to lead students to identify their own core support structures, so that in times of stress and hardship they know where to turn.

But student D did not identify her support structures.
She did not pick someone she even knows.
She selected a celebrity.

She selected Lady Gaga.

Now I have spoken with this young ladies parents and I know she comes from a Christian Home.

Her parents are faithful Christian men and women. 

She has been raised in a God loving and God following him.

Though my students are able to express themselves freely as long as what they create is school appropriate, I was shocked at what I DIDN'T see on this kids visual aid.

Her values were non-existent.
Her sources of strength were fleeting.
Her imagery was worldly.
There was a big gap between the values in her home and the values that she turns to.

Where was the symbol of the Cross on her paper?
Where was the verse of scripture, or the word GOD, that was used for her most important phrase or word?

The artwork was carefully and beautifully rendered, but it was devoid of anything substantive.

I waited a few days to talk with this young lady about her choices, and I pulled her out in the hallway when I did so. There was nothing punitive about the conversation, she was not in trouble....I approached her from a position of just being curious about her artwork.

She was real with me in the hallway.

And everything I saw told me that she was rejecting her family, her faith, and almost everything about the life she knows at home.

BUT she did go home and tell her mother that we had had this conversation
(which to my mind is a VERY good sign;there is still a good connection with mom).

And yesterday the young lady told me that her Mama wanted me to call her.

So, I called her mom.

And her mom shared with me that she was scared for her daughter, and asked me what I am seeing, and if I am seeing things that concern me.

We had THE BEST talk.

It was Parent to Teacher...but it was also Mama to Mama, and even better it was Christian Woman to Christian Woman.

We are both very concerned about this little girl...and we are both on the same page on this one: The Evil One is Trying to Pull Her Away From Her Faith 

He is separating her from her family and its values and from her God and His Standards.

This weighed so much on my heart that a few hours later I called the mom back.

And this was the BEST PART OF MY DAY>>>I asked that mom if she was comfortable with us praying for her daughter.

The mom was very receptive
And so yesterday, for the first time in my career, in a parent phone call, from inside my classroom, with only a soft lamp at my desk turned on, I prayed with the mother of one of my students on the phone.

This was  a powerful prayer.

It was from my the bottom of my soul.

It was deep and it was genuine and when I was done, I was crying.

It was beautiful

The mom and I were both crying


God is alive and well in public schools today.
Prayer is practiced every day.

It may not be lead over the Public Address system, but it happens all the time.

And I am blessed because of it.

Just thought I'd share that with you guys.

In Him,


Betsy said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful conversation! Not sure why you mentioned her ethnic background, though. If she was German or Irish, would you have included that? Just a thought. But the main point is how you had some great communication from a teacher/parent perspective! That's great!

Grace said...

Hi Betsy,
It WAS a wonderful conversation and I was blessed by it. Thank you for taking the time to post to me.

And though initially I confess that I was a little bit ruffled by your question about the ethnic background inclusion, after I thought about it, I do understand why you asked.

Here is a really short way to explain it...

In current Education Circles, there are two schools of thought under significant consideration:

#1 never mention ethnicity, and thus show respect
#2. respect the ethnicity and acknowledge it openly.

Either option can be taken to extremes.

#1 taken too far becomes WHITE WASHING
#2 taken too far become NAME CALLING

I see your point, and understand why you asked me about it. But rest assured, my intent was to respect the ethnicity and acknowledge it openly.

Thanks for taking the time to ask about that.
Hope you are having a great evening!

In Him,