"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Day I Went Back to School

"Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white;
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world." (Children's song)

This past week, I had the privilege of speaking for Career Day at Huie Elementary School in nearby Forest Park, Georgia. The counselor who set up the day had asked me to speak to the boys and girls in third, fourth and fifth grade classes about being a newspaper and magazine columnist and the importance of reading for fun. I also got to meet and visit with one of the very special classes of children at the school, seeing a theatrical production of "The Hungry Caterpillar" which is receiving rave reviews from all who attend.

Going into the day, I was rather apprehensive because I had never done this type of thing before. Oh, I enjoy being around children and being a part of their energy and enthusiasm for life, but I had not set foot in an elementary school for quite a few years. If I recall, my elementary school will not even allow me back inside the doors because of my childhood behavior issues. My usual insecurity levels were on full alert in case I was rejected by the children and they started throwing crayons, glue and invectives at me. My imagination was already conceiving of police and SWAT teams coming into the school building to try and squash a riot of third graders because they were bored to tears from some old man talking about the importance of the ABC's and actually going inside the Library for fun.

How wrong could I have been? I could not have asked for a more well behaved group of boys and girls if I had placed an order from the good child catalog. And the great thing was that I do not think they behaved so well because their teachers had threatened them with bodily torture or having to write sentences on the chalkboard (what am I saying? Schools don't even have chalkboards anymore). The children behaved because I think they were interested in what I and the other visitors had to say, plus, I think they were just good and polite boys and girls.

I was also very encouraged by the diversity of the school. There were children from many ethnic backgrounds, teachers from many ethnic backgrounds and it was good for my heart to see the acceptance, without seemingly any question about it. Folks, that's how it should be. Why can't we as adults learn from these children? Oh, I'm not so blind to think there aren't problems and issues in this school and many others, however, here is the beginning. We as the grownups just need to watch and get a clue as to how to make it happen in our worlds.

God accepts and extends His Love to all - Jew and Gentile, higher and lower income levels, all ethnic groups and cultures, mean people and nice people, men and women, rednecks and socialites, ugly people and pretty people, Americans and Europeans, and so on. All we have to do is accept the fact that He loves us and sees us as equal in His eyes. Once we come to that point, it is easier to see our neighbors and communities with the same view.

Thank you Huie Elementary for inviting me to school for part of a day to try and share a little of what I have learned and do each day. Thank you especially for your teaching me far more about how we as adults should be living. You've caught on to the secret; I just hope that the rest of us can.

And that, my friends, is the gospel according to Jimmy.

Be God's,


At 10:39 PM, Blogger shannon said...

As usual, Jimmy, I love your perspective. And I've been meaning to tell you how much I like your "sign-off" at the end of each post. Very nice. And as long as I'm telling you how much I like everything, I may as well tell you I really like Ravi Zacharias and that quote you posted.

I'm sure there's more ... I'll be back. :)


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