MEMORIES OF BYGONE SCHOOL DAYS
When principal at North Linden Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, students were challenged to live by the following motto, creed, and pledge; and those that memorized and recited them to their principal received a prize of 10 tootsie rolls!
Our School Motto: At North Linden School every child is important.
We care about kids!
Our School Creed: We believe:
You should care about your school,
You should care about others,
You should care about yourself.
It’s the right thing to do!
Our School Pledge: Because I care about North Linden School:
I will obey my teachers,
I will keep the school rules,
I will help my school be at its best.
Because I care about others:
I will set a good example,
I will be nice to everyone,
I will help those who need me.
Because I care about myself:
I will do my best work in school,
I will stay out of trouble,
I will try again when I make a mistake
During the first two or three months of a new school year our staff made an all out effort to help children learn and live by our school motto, creed, and pledge. In the midst of this training at North Linden I received a phone call one day from a parent who had been standing at the bus stop where her child was picked up each day. I can’t remember her exact words but she shared something like this, “Mr. Winner, I can’t believe what’s going on at the bus stop these days. I always stay with my daughter until the bus arrives because I want to make sure she’s safe. In the past there have been lots of arguments, bad language, and even some fights. But now most of the kids are reciting the school, motto, creed, and pledge; and some of them are teaching it to others. I just can’t believe it. This is wonderful!”
Yes, there is power in caring and in teaching others to care! The Bible says, “Love never faileth…”
Every (Spring) I start stirring in my stuff. There is closet stuff, drawer stuff, attic stuff, and basement stuff. I separate the good stuff from the bad stuff, then I stuff the bad stuff anywhere the stuff is not too crowded until I decide if I will need the bad stuff.
When the Lord calls me home, my children will want the good stuff, but the bad stuff, stuffed wherever there is room among all the other stuff, will be stuffed in bags and taken to the dump where all the other people’s stuff has been taken.
Whenever we have company they always bring bags and bags of stuff. When I visit my son, he always moves his stuff so I will have room for my stuff. My daughter-in-law always clears a drawer of her stuff so I will have room for my stuff. Their stuff and my stuff…it would be easier to use their stuff and leave my stuff at home, with the rest of my stuff.
(Last) Fall I had an extra closet built so I would have a place for all the stuff too good to throw away and too bad to keep with my good stuff. You may not have this problem, but I seem to spend a lot of time with stuff…food stuff, cleaning stuff, medicine stuff, clothes stuff, and outside stuff. Whatever would life be like if we didn’t have all this stuff?
Now there is all that stuff we use to make us smell better than we do. There is the stuff to make our hair look good. Stuff to make us look younger. Stuff to make us look healthier. Stuff to hold us in, and stuff to fill us out. There is stuff to read, stuff to play with, stuff to entertain us, and stuff to eat. We stuff ourselves with the food stuff.
Well, our lives are filled with stuff…good stuff, bad stuff, little stuff, big stuff, useful stuff, junky stuff, and everyone’s stuff. Now when we leave all our stuff and go to heaven, whatever happens to our stuff won’t matter. We will still have the good stuff God has prepared for us in heaven. (…Anonymous)
Caution! Let’s make sure stuff does not become more important to us than God and thereby keeps us from entering heaven as the rich farmer in the Bible.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matt. 6:19-20).
Two Keys for SUCCESS in Life
Here’s another encouraging story from Southwood School where I was principal several years ago. Back then school policy in Columbus, Ohio, permitted acknowledging God but not defining God.
At the end of the year Southwood held a special assembly for 6th graders and their parents where the principal of the Junior High School would share some things about their new school in preparation for the following school year. Before turning it over to our featured speaker, I gave a short pep talk on how to succeed in life bringing in Abraham Lincoln and how he never gave up no matter how many times he failed. My little talk closed with two keys for success in life: Try hard, and trust God to help you!
You never know how much words sink in, but one of the Mothers in that assembly after a year or so felt lead to call me to share how her daughter was doing in Junior High. She said she was so proud of how well Sarah (not her real name) was doing. She was saved at the altar in their church and was an active member of the youth group. She was also getting good grades in school, and the Mother shared that when she told Sarah how proud she was of her that Sarah responded, “Mom, I’m just doing what Mr. Winner told us; I try hard and trust God to help me, and it works every time.”
Keep sowing seeds, you never know when they will bring forth much fruit. God is so good!
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).
A Father and Son
I have a long time ago special memory of a father coming into my office at Clairfield Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, and saying in a somewhat angry voice “My son told me you took him to McDonald’s to get him an ice cream cone.”
Not being sure of the cause of his anger, I responded that his son had made a big improvement in his attitude and behavior at school; and yes, I did take him to get an ice cream cone to help him celebrate. After a period of silence, this father shared with me that about all he did when he was around his child at home was to yell at him. He then added with tears in his eyes, “I want to do better.”
We took a walk to the child’s classroom and after pulling him from the class, this father communicated to his son that he was proud of him and that in the future things would be better between the two of them. Was God’s grace at work in helping this father want to become a better father, and is God always in the middle of love and caring?
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
CHILDREN are amazing!
Those who work with children know they are far from being perfect, but does God often break through and express his love in and through children?
I must share one of my favorite stories of a kind gentleman whose story (called Friends) really needs to be shared. It illustrates in a beautiful way how children often care for and support others.
“One Spring afternoon, I came home to find two little girls on the steps of my building. Both were crying hard, shedding big tears. Thinking they might be hurt, I dropped my briefcase and quickly went over to them. ‘Are you all right?’ I asked. Still sobbing, one held up her doll. ‘My baby’s arm came off,’ she said. I took the doll and its disjointed arm. After a little effort and luck, the doll was again whole. ‘Thank you,’ came a whisper. Next looking into the tearful eyes of her friend, I asked, ‘and what’s the matter with you, young lady?’ She wiped her cheeks. ‘I was helping her cry,’ she said.”
Children often amaze us by the things they say and do, and most of us believe that God often speaks through children to bless others. It’s been said that when we cry God cries, and this story of a small child crying with and for a friend is proof enough to me that God does work in and through children. It’s a wonderful thing to witness and share when it happens!
What about words or acts of kindness from children you have witnessed? Please share if you are inclined to do so.
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength…” (Psalm 8:2).
DAVID, a first grader
Do children respond when the communication gets through that we care for them? David, a first grader at North Linden School in Columbus, Ohio, was a real discipline problem early in the school year; and he was sent to the office quite often.
Some playground equipment had been added to our playground, and I went to each classroom talking about safety, etc. Before leaving, I would always ask if anyone knew why the teachers and I ordered the playground equipment for them with the answer being, “Because we care about you, that’s why!” (Saying it and showing it go together.)
In David’s class, I made a positive comment about him, saying, “I saw David holding out his hand helping another child onto the tunnel. That shows that he cares about others.”
The next day, David drew a picture and asked his teacher if he could show it to Mr. Winner. He was sitting in the hall by the office with a note, as he often had done; and I let him sit there for quite a while, as I often had done. But this time, instead of something bad, the note said “David wants to show you his picture.” I didn’t see a picture, and when I asked him if he wanted to get it, he said it was in his pocket. It had been folded several times in order to fit into his pocket. When I asked David to tell me about his picture, he said, “This is the school, this is the sun, this is the playground,” etc. There were also some letters on the picture, something like ILW. When I asked David what the letters meant, he pointed at the letters one by one and read, “I love Mr. Winner.” Wow, what a response which I still hold close to my heart!
Yes, children do respond when the communication gets through that we really care. And it’s important to know that there’s always an inward response in most children, even when we don’t see it outwardly.
Does God still work through people who share his love and truth with others and especially with children? And can there be any greater joy than doing so?
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 11:35).
A Note to Parents
I remember sending the following note (with slight editing) to parents in one of my schools, and I believe it still rings true today:
“Dear Parents, I believe you are the most important team member in promoting your child’s education and that your home is his/her greatest refuge. This is true because you, above all people on earth, have the power to consistently communicate to your children that you love them and believe in them and in their potential of making this world a better world.
Don’t stand up for your children when they are wrong (use tough love), but always stand beside them whether they are right or wrong. Most of us believe Mother Teresa was right when she said, ‘Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.’ She also said, ‘The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.’”
Now dear friends, we can blame poor parenting for the collapse of today’s society, and it is mostly true; but placing blame doesn’t solve the problem. We must find ways to reach as many of today’s parents as possible for Jesus. He alone is able to transform the heart of a parent and through them the hearts of their children.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The Empty Tomb
Little Philip, born with Down’s syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences, according to an article in leadership magazine. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully.
The Sunday after Easter the teacher brought L’eggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large eggs. Each receiving one, the children were told to go outside on that lovely spring day, find some symbol for new life, and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in surprise fashion. After running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table. Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. After each one, whether a flower, butterfly, or leaf, the class would ooh and ahh.
Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside. The children exclaimed, That’s stupid. That’s not fair. Somebody didn’t do their assignment.”
Philip spoke up, “That’s mine.”
“Philip, you don’t ever do things right!” the student retorted. “There’s nothing there!”
“I did so do it,” Philip insisted. “I did do it. It’s empty. The tomb was empty!”
Silence followed. From then on Philip became a full member of the class. He died not long afterward from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg. (…source not known)
“And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6)
Here’s a special story (with some editing) I think all of us need to hear again as we approach Passion Week and Easter. Let’s never forget the great price Jesus paid for our glorious freedom!
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw someone coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.
I stopped and asked, “What do you have there?”
“Just some old birds,” came the reply.
“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.
“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”
“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”
“Oh, I got some cats. They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”
The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds?”
“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”
“How much?” the pastor asked again.
The villain sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the villain’s hand. In a flash, he was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.
Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.
Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse, and fight and even kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”
“And what will you do when you are done with them?”Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.
“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”
“How much? He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”
Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.
The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.
Think about it…Jesus shed his blood at Calvary to open the cage of our doubt and unbelief, and we are now free to “go and sin no more.” If Jesus loves us that much, should we (and can we) “love him because he first loved us”? Yes, by God’s mercy and grace! It’s a choice we are now free to make!
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
NEVER GIVE UP!
Many years ago on “LinkedIn” I shared a weekly dialog with several teachers and educators relating to the importance of creating a caring school environment. The following is the response of one of the teachers and then my response to her:
“I completely agree that building a caring environment is crucial for student success. However, a teacher who emphasizes and creates a caring environment with his/her students may still have students who refuse to comply. My students come from broken homes and a hostile environment. Some of my students have trust issues and have difficulty accepting kindness from other people. I need to continue to have a strong focus on building a strong community, but at times it can be difficult because they have so much anger and aggression towards others. I would love to hear suggestions on how to continue to embrace my students and let them know how much I truly care about them.”
My response to the teacher (slightly edited):
It is very difficult but please don’t ever, ever give up; let apparent failure only drive you to try harder and smarter to reach the hearts of those children who need your caring spirit more than they need anything else. Quite a bit of my work has been in inter-city schools, and I know the frustration you feel for I have felt it many times. It has been suggested that children of low self-esteem are compelled to act out in their behavior what they see themselves to be as a person. They will never change until someone penetrates the ugly shell of their behavior and touches the heart of the real person behind the behavior. Don’t accept the low opinion some children have of themselves; let them know you believe in them and in their potential of making this world a better world, and keep teaching it until they come to believe it. We must come up with a plan to reach these children and then consistently work our plan, and that’s why I share what worked for me in the book, “The Power of Caring for Elementary Schools.” Here’s a powerful statement I often make on how to change children, and I believe it is true: “Children are not what they think they are; children are not what we think they are; but usually, children will become what they think we think they are.” I wish you well!
Now friends…the only one who can change the heart of anyone is Jesus, but we know God often works through people to change people including children; and I believe what happens in a wise and caring teacher’s classroom may be applicable to living a Christian life. Do you sometimes feel like giving up because of overwhelming circumstances? Instead of giving up or almost giving up, we must trust God who loves us more than we can know and boldly declare as Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Remember, God never gives up on us; and when we love and care for others God is in the middle of it all!
WILLPOWER or lots and lots of cookies?
Here’s a classic tale too funny not to re-tell and with a lot or insight into the power of temptation. Let’s enjoy it but also learn from it.
Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.”
Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog.
Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.”
“You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl.
“Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie.
“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another.
“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.”
“What is willpower?” asked Toad.
“Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do,” said Frog.
“You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?” asked Toad.
“Right,” said Frog.
Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.
Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf.
“There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.
Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voice. “Hey, birds, here are cookies!” Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away.
“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.”
“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.”
“You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.”
…shared by Ray & Anne Ortlund, Renewal, Navpress, 1989, p. 73-74.
Think about it: Do we choose willpower or lots and lots of cookies? And on a deeper level, if God has given us a free will, will we held responsible for the choices we make?
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
Every Child has Great Potential!
The picture is not the actual child, but this miracle story is true and took place at Clairfield Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio; and it documents the fact that severe negative attitudes and behaviors can be changed into positive attitudes and behaviors when an all-out, intensive effort is made to do so involving the major people in a child’s life. At my request a very gifted teacher, Debbie Glenn, shared with me the before and after story of a special needs child in her classroom. When enrolled early in the year this child was much larger than the other children, very unsure of herself, surly, had been questioned as being mentally retarded in her other school, very unhappy, lacked self confidence, had been in 21 foster homes, and was an abused child.
Mrs. Glenn reported that by the end of the year this same child was popular with the class, very confident, laughed all the time, was learning to give and receive affection, helpful and cooperative in class, and got mostly A’s & B’s on her report card. Wow, what a change! No doubt the major cause according to her teacher was that the child was adopted by a loving and caring family, but I‘m also confident that being in a wise and caring teacher’s classroom and receiving a lot of structure and security was a big factor in this child’s restoration. Also, our school had a structured plan for creating a caring school environment including a strong effort to inspire and encourage the combined involvement of children, teachers, and parents; and that’s what made it so special.
Now, if God could do such a great work in a public school classroom many years ago, don’t you think he can do the same today in our Churches, in our Christian Schools, and in our Homes if we follow his formula? What about 1 Jn. 4:19? “We love him, because he first loved us,” and Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Let’s get back to the basics. God will help us!
Is Jesus Welcome?
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).
This Bible verse reminds me of one of the first poems I chose to memorize, and it was a very long time ago.
IF JESUS CAME TO YOUR HOUSE
If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two–
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you would do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored Guest
And all the food you’d serve Him would be the very best,
And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there–
That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.
But–when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in?
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard?
And wish you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, hasty word?
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder–if the Saviour spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?
Would your family conversation keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read,
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends?
Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you.
Jesus wants to do more than come to our house. He wants to come into our heart and live in us and through us. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Let’s make sure Jesus is always welcome in our heart and that he is always welcome to make any changes he wants to make for he always wants what is best for us and the kingdom of God!……
A CHILD’S GREATEST NEED!
I don’t like sharing sad stories, but I believe this story illustrates the fact that the greatest need in the life of any child is to know that somebody important in their life really loves them. I remember a fourth or fifth grader in one of my schools who took a bottle of pills and almost lost her life. When she came back to school a couple weeks later, she asked her teacher if she could talk with Mr. Winner. As she came into the office she said, “You probably want to know why I did what I did.” I told her she could tell me if she wanted to and she responded, “I had to do it to find out if my parents really loved me.”
How sad…and her parents if asked would probably say they loved their daughter, but somehow the communication did not get through as far as their daughter was concerned. Remember, it’s not always the actual feedback a child receives but their interpretation of the feedback that influences behavior. These times of anxiety and confusion overtake many children, though their outward actions may not say it or show it in such an extreme way as the child in this true story. The bottom line, however, is this: it is very important for every child to be able to consistently read the message loud and clear: “I care about you, I love you” from the important people in their lives. In fact, it is so important that without it they may never find true happiness and success in this earthly life. Of course, it’s more important than anything else that children know first that Jesus loves them; however, the love of Jesus is best communicated to children through the loving and caring people in their lives.
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
Another MIRACLE STORY from Eleventh Avenue School
Last week, I shared a special story to illustrate the power of love and caring that happened during my first assignment as an elementary principal at Eleventh Avenue, a large inner-city school in Columbus, Ohio. The only picture I could find is very old. The school was built in 1908 and burnt in 1994. I was there in the early 70’s.
This week I share another story that took place in the same school. Our staff was trying hard to communicate that we really cared for all children using strategies that were designed for that purpose. It was during a time when racial tension was strong within the public schools of our city and just a few years before a court-ordered, city-wide busing plan was put into place. In an effort to resolve some of the issues, a community action leader was assigned to each school that had a high percentage of black students enrolled. The plan was put into place for this leader to met with the principal along with twenty-five to thirty parents from the school each month to discuss their concerns, to draft plans to meet those concerns, and to assess whether or not progress was being made.
I will never forget the first (and last) meeting of this group in our building. There were twenty-nine of us all seated in a circle, including the community action leader who was in charge of the meeting, our parents, and myself. After opening comments regarding the purpose of the meeting, our leader went around the circle, asking each parent to share a concern they had about their school. I was amazed and greatly humbled as each parent spoke. One after another, they shared how happy and pleased they were with what was going on at their school. They praised our staff, our curriculum, our activities, and I believe anything else they could think about. There was not one problem or concern shared by these parents. At the end of the meeting, the community action leader stated that it was apparent we had no problems in our school. He also added that it would not be necessary for us to meet again in the future.
Wow, and I’m very confident the primary reason these parents were so positive is that they came to believe and know that our school staff really cared for their children. It seems they had never experienced this level of caring before. Surely God was in the middle of it all, and it all happened through the power of God’s love!
May God help all of us to continuously communicate his love to others, and let us always follow the strategies given in our guidebook, the Holy Bible.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31)
IT REALLY HAPPENED!
Another illustration on THE POWER OF CARING (for teachers, parents, and all that connect with children)
My first assignment as an elementary principal was at Eleventh Avenue, a large inner-city school in Columbus, Ohio. I was told the previous principal had a difficult time and another person had been assigned as principal of the school, but he refused to take the job. As the new principal I was determined to give it my best; and if I could do no more I would at least communicate to children, teachers, and parents that I really cared for them. That was my game plan because I believe God put it in my heart; and I began to create tools to make it work.
The plan did work, and I learned a great success secret on the power of caring early in my career. The degree of community pride and support that developed against great odds during my five years in this my first assignment is still hard to believe, and I still thank God for it. I could share many miracle stories and may do so in the future, but please consider this one fabulous illustration. One of our teachers just happened to be in a certain supermarket over the weekend to purchase some groceries. One of our parents just happened to be in the same store. They both just happened to get into the same check-out line but did not recognize each other. The parent was in front and was overheard by our teacher saying to the cashier, “Well, I have learned that there is at least one school in Columbus that really cares about kids; and it is Eleventh Avenue School.” It was our school she was talking about. Wow, and what a time of encouragement for everyone when the teacher shared her story at our next staff meeting!
Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
“Charity (Love) never faileth…” (1 Cor. 13:8).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
THE POWER OF CARING (for teachers, parents, and all that connect with children)
To show the power of a caring teacher in my life, I must tell the story of how I flunked the fifth grade and what followed afterward. My best friend during my first year in the fifth grade was the strongest kid in the class, who was also considered to be a slow learner. I did a lot of his homework for him, and he protected me from the other kids. I didn’t think he was going to pass; and if he didn’t pass, why would I want to pass?
The teacher didn’t seem to like me very well; and somehow she didn’t notice that when the less intelligent kids were sent to the chalkboard to work on math problems with a helper, I often finished first and didn’t need a helper.
I admit that my friend and I didn’t like school, and we both got a lot of F’s on our report card; but the shocker is that I flunked, and if I remember correctly, he passed!
Now here’s what followed afterward: The schools in our community were reorganized, and I ended up in a different school the following year without my friend’s protection. I was on my own, and I was a very tiny kid. But Miss Reece, the teacher in my new school, seemed to like me. She laughed when I said funny things, and I especially remember her holding up a picture I had drawn and telling the whole class why she liked it. That year, I believe I got nearly all A’s and B’s on my report card, and every year after that–all through grade school, high school, and college. Oh, the POWER of a caring teacher! Thank you, Miss Reece!
I believe God works through caring teachers, caring parents…caring people. Do you agree?
And how great is the POWER of a CARING GOD?
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
REVIVAL in a public school classroom?
Is it possible for several children to be saved in a 4th grade classroom where the teacher was a Jew?
I was principal at Southwood School in Columbus, Ohio, and the teacher asked me one day, “What do Christians believe, anyway?” I believe I told her that we believe in the Old Testament just as she did, but we also believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah that we read about in the Old Testament. I then encouraged her to read from the book of Hebrews because it clearly shows how the new covenant is so much better than the old.
But how did God motivate this Jewish teacher to ask the question, “What do Christians believe, anyway?” Here’s how it happened to the best of my memory. A Christian parent called me one day and said “Mr. Winner, my daughter loves your school is doing very well; but I have the opportunity to enroll her in a Christian School, and I think I should do it.” Of course, I told her we hated to see them leave; but I understood and would probably do the same thing if I were in her shoes. I asked her to keep praying for Southwood, and she said she would.
She called me again about a month or two later and asked, “Mr. Winner, can my daughter come back to your school?” She then explained that her daughter still loved Southwood and was not doing well in her new school. She was very depressed and her grades were really dropping. Of course, I told her we would be glad to have them back but shared that her daughter would not have the same teacher because of a school policy requiring all new enrollees to go into the classroom with the least number of children. They talked it over and the daughter still wanted to return to Southwood. I then enrolled her in the 4th grade classroom with the least number of students, and her teacher was a Jew.
After probably a month or so and toward the end of the day, the teacher sent me a note saying, “Mr. Winner, I need to see you right after school; it’s really important, and it’s about Mary” (not her real name). When she entered my office I asked, “Is Mary becoming a discipline problem?” She responded, “Oh no, she’s a good student and all the kids like her, but here’s the problem: Mary invites one of her classmates to spend the night with her and while there her friend gets saved and then comes back to school the next day and tells everyone about it. Then Mary invites another friend to spend the night and she gets saved and comes back to school the next day and tells everyone about it. This keeps happening over and over and if we don’t do something quick the whole class is going to get saved!”
This didn’t sound like a big problem to me, but I kindly told the teacher there was nothing we could or should do and assured her that everything would be OK. She then said, “I told Mary she had nothing to worry about because Mr. Winner believes just like you.” Then came her question, “What do Christians believe, anyway?”
“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isa. 59:1).
“With God all things are possible!” Amen!
God created a very beautiful world; and then he created us to experience, enjoy, and to take care of the world he created and especially to love and care for one another.
As we live out our life in God’s world, do you think we should set priorities? Should we put Jesus first in everything we do? And if we’re not careful, can we get sidetracked from what life is all about?
I think the following poem can help us address these questions:
THE WILD WHITE ROSE
It was peeping through the brambles, that little wild white rose,
Where the hawthorn hedge was planted, my garden to enclose;
All beyond was fern and heather, on the breezy, open moor;
All within was sun and shelter, and the wealth of beauty’s shore.
But I did not heed the fragrance of flow’ret or of tree,
For my eyes were on that rosebud, and it grew too high for me.
In vain I strove to reach it through the tangled mass of green,
It only smiled and nodded behind its thorny screen.
Yet through that summer morning I lingered near the spot;
Oh, why do things seem sweeter if we possess them not?
My garden buds were blooming, but all that I could see
Was that little mocking wild rose hanging just too high for me.
So in life’s wider garden there are buds of promise, too,
Beyond our reach to gather, but not beyond our view;
And like the little charmer that tempted me astray,
They steal out half the brightness of many a summer’s day.
Oh, hearts that fail with longing for some forbidden tree,
Look up and learn a lesson from my white rose and me.
‘Tis wiser far to number the blessings at my feet
Than ever to be sighing for just one bud more sweet.
My sunbeams and my shadows fall from a pierced hand,
I can surely trust His wisdom since His heart I understand;
And maybe in the morning, when His blessed face I see,
He will tell me why my white rose grew just too high for me.
—Ellen H. Willis
God promised to supply all our “need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” but not necessarily all our wants and especially if they are misguided and selfish. In fact, could it be that some of our wants could actually interfere with God supplying all our needs?
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).