You may find it crazy that two little sticks of gum are a strong enough encouragement to counter the overwhelming storms of this week. But the power of a kind word or deed is often surprising. This week has been a tough one for me (and it’s only Tuesday!), and I don’t know that I can even put it into words. One after another, little by little, things have been chipping away at my confidence and overwhelming me to the point that I am discouraged.
I did not have much courage when I went to school today. I felt drained and weary before the school day had even begun. When the principal asked me how I was, I almost started crying. But God provides little blessings, even on the most discouraging days. And little by little, these blessings provide enough encouragement to keep us going. Today I was dreading the 8th grade class. Their disrespect towards me and each other had reached its height yesterday, and today I knew I had to tighten up the rules (yet again).
Often times the things we worry about seem so much worse before they actually happen. Teaching 7th and 6th grade proved to be the perfect “distraction” for my mind to lift my spirits before I had to deal with the 8th graders. In both classes, I completely lost track of time—the students worked so well today and got a lot accomplished on their bridge building designs and preparation. Right before the 7th graders left, one student handed me a piece of gum as she passed some out to her other friends. So I stuck it in my pocket.
The principal came to observe me during the 6th grade class, and the 6th graders were so focused and had such good attitudes about adjusting their bridge designs to fit the requirements and the amount of wood they were given. Once again, I lost track of time and we had to quickly clean up before the bell rang. On her way out, one of the 6th graders also handed me a piece of gum as she passed a piece out to each student in the class. Again, I stuck it in my pocket.
The 8th graders responded much better to my discipline than I had imagined and were actually quite well-behaved. During their work-time, they were fairly focused and responsible with the tasks they needed to get done. Because they are all working at their own pace on this project, class is crazy for me—cutting wood that one group of students had measured while helping another student with the Pythagorean Theorem to help him get his drawn measurements right…
When the bell rang and all the students left the room, I took a deep breath, thankful that class was not as bad as I had imagined it would be. And when I stuck my hand in my pocket later to discover the two pieces of gum I had been given, I was reminded of the little blessings that were sprinkled throughout my afternoon. Though the little things don’t change the big problems of the world, they do have the power to bring a smile to my lips.