Thursday, January 3, 2013

Getting Part III done

I should know not to do these "series." One day I feel super passionate about writing up a post about God in public schools, but then weeks go by and I just never find the will power to do it.

The problem is, I want to be fancy with my words. I want to sound intelligent and poetic. I want to convey the emotion I feel in my heart.

But I know I can't. I don't have time to proofread and edit like I want to. I don't read books anymore -- and as a result my writing skills are lackking.

Worst of all, I don't remember the names of some of my favorite students.

But I can still take the time to tell you God is in our public schools.

I saw Him humble a group of sexually sinful girls when they bowed their heads, linked their pinkies, and prayed for a victory in their championship Basketball game. They lost. They cried about it. But I know they were humbled in a way that brought them closer to their Creator.

I felt His love when a student told me she'd be rejecting a partial scholarship to play Basketball at the city's biggest Private school. She wanted her parents to spend the money they'd save on her younger brother who struggled with dislexia. She wanted to have that private school opportunity, but she knew he needed it. Nell taught me so much about charity.

God showed up in my 3rd period class everyday in the sweetness that was Jeremiah. But His strongest presence was exhibited by the rest of my students self control to never, never tease or bully Jeremiah. For all his strangeness and for all the many ways he DID NOT fit in to inner city DC culture, he was never once bullied or made to feel different. The hooligans that surrounded him recognized his special spirit and treated him better than anyone in the room.

God was there when a pondering student said "but if we could just find the one religion that was true, maybe we'd all get along." We all agreed that Dunlap was on to something genius.

God showed up when Zoe, a young Jewish girl, explained the metaphor hidden in a New Testament scripture. That's right, despite what you may hear on the news it is completely legal for teachers to discuss religion with their students and 100% ok to read versus from the Bible.

One school I was at even had a "Holiday" assembly. Students from various cultures and religions explained Chinese New Year, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Christmas. Together we celebrated what makes us unique, and we all recognized the blessings our Creator bestows upon us.

In truth, I found it impossible NOT to discuss religion. How can you teach great works of literature without reflecting on religious influences? You cannot read the closing pages of Night out loud to 8th graders without being moved to tears at the loss of faith. You cannot discuss the themes of Mice and Men and avoid the obvious human sacrifices that make us each a little more Christlike.

Legally, we can't force our public school children to recite prays together, but I assure you they bring God to school with them. They ponder on His greatness and life's ultimate meaning. They share His light with one another as they pass through the halls.

And yes, they beat each other up, do stupid things in the bathroom, and cheat on assignments. We all make mistakes. But we all have the Light of Christ. As a teacher I saw that Light shine bright in all my students. It doesn't stop at the door. They bring God to school everyday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just commented on your great blog -- spent about 15 minutes doing so and Mom's damn blogger dropper my comments. Sometimes I hate technology!

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