I expected outlines and three-point presentations on famous people. The kind you find on Wikipedia. Maybe Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, a singer, or a sports hero. Someone who lived big and wide and whose impact could be seen rippling out into these children’s consciousness.
Instead I witnessed each child’s presentation on Someone They Admire and Why, spoken in reverent tones about an older sister, a great-grandfather who had recently gone to be with the Lord, a father, and Jesus.
The why’s were varied and yet common.
He stands confident, his smile stretching wide revealing a set of braces. His great-grandfather had passed away, but in life, he left a legacy. Immigrating from Sweden, leaving behind all he knew to come to America, working as a janitor in order to provide opportunity for his children and someday for their children. And that very legacy is standing in my class talking about the prayers this great man had prayed over each child, every day. A recital of faithfulness.
With a semblance of that shy girl who has blossomed over the last two years, her crystal blue eyes glance down at her note cards. She admires her big sister. Because she makes cards for people to see the smile on their faces, she teaches how her to communicate well, to love good and hard. She is kind, and in her eyes, her big sister is wise, a heroine of the highest kind.
And then another speaks of her father. How he can whip up anything in the kitchen. How he loves to spend time with them. How he makes music and takes them to the movies. And another speaks of his father’s love of fishing and potato chips and football and how he is often recruited to venture to the river near their home and cast out flys snagging fish. He doesn’t always enjoy it, finds it boring at times. But I know, as the years spread wide, he will tuck these times into his very soul. Because it’s never really about the fish or the movie or the food, it’s always about being cherished.
It’s a given that in any Christian homeshool class if called upon to name someone who is worthy of admiration, someone who you’d like to have dinner with if you could pick anyone, or someone you most want to be like when you grow up, someone will invariably name Jesus or at the very least a disciple.
But this was something different altogether. Because in her tiny voice, both strong and clear, she spoke of a God who loves her so much, he was willing to die for her. Someone who knew all the bad things she did and loved her anyway. Someone who was always there for her. In 3 minutes she spoke gospel to all who were listening. It wasn’t the clinical recitation of Sunday school chanting, but the heartfelt adoration of a girl who loved her Jesus.
I am blessed by these children week after week as I tutor them. I realized as the presentations came to a close that the most impact on these young hearts was derived from being cherished and loved by those closest to them. That in these 9 and 10-year-old souls, the indelible markings are made by those who rub up against them in their day-to-day. Their parents and siblings and relatives and yes, Jesus. The close and the personal are forming these children.
I cherish each one of them and I hold close to my heart the responsibility to be someone whom my children can say they admire.
Okay, so I went over 5 minutes this week. Consider it more like 12 minute Friday with lots of starts and stops, even though it doesn’t have the same ring to it.
You know the deal. It’s the best community of women you could ever find. We gather over at Lisa Jo’s and weave words and tell stories and speak the language of sister-friends as we encourage each other to let loose and let words fly for 5 minutes.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. That is like the one rule we all really care about. For reals.