By Joshua Rogers, September 8, 2018, at: http://www.joshuarogers.com
When I was in third grade, I had problems behaving. My heart was in the right place, but my good intentions didn’t make it to the surface a lot of the time. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to follow the rules.
I had a number of infractions on my record, none of which I told my parents about.
There was the time on the bus I pulled a girl’s hair to get her attention (it worked).
I also wrote an insulting poem about a chubby kid “whose name was Matt, and he looked really, really fat.”
Then there was the time I called my classmate a “jackass” and the time I called my ex-girlfriend a — well, it’s not really appropriate to repeat here.
When I got called to Mr. Radcliff’s office for the sixth time, I had no idea what I had done and I felt dejected as I walked down the hallway. I came into his office, sat down and looked at the floor. Then he said the last thing I expected to hear:
“Josh, I’ve heard you’ve been behaving really well lately. I want you to know how proud I am of you, and I just called you to my office so I could give you a peppermint.”
I was stunned.
“Yep, now you can take that peppermint and go back to class.”
I took the peppermint with me and carried it down the hallway like it was a gold coin.
Then I went to class and bragged to my classmates about my turnaround. My third-grade year of misbehaving was redeemed, thanks to Mr. Ratcliff. What a relief. I wasn’t so bad after all.
I look back at that conversation and a lot of questions come to mind that I haven’t even thought about until recently: Who told Mr. Ratcliff to do that? Was my teacher involved in it? Did he do it on his own? What did I do to get his attention?
I have no idea.
I do know this: There’s a trouble-making kid at your local school. Perhaps he or she is your student — maybe the kid is your child. Unfortunately, that child thinks they’re bad, instead of realizing that they’re just a kid who has a problem with bad behavior. Help that kid out.
Go buy a cheap bag of peppermints and take the time to notice that child when they get something — anything — right. Then take them aside, tell them you need to talk to them, and do what Mr. Radcliff did: Give them some hope by giving them some love. They might just remember you for the rest of their life.
I John 4:7a…11… 19 — Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God… Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another… We love because he first loved us.
Romans 5:6-8 — You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I Corinthians 13:4-7 — Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Almighty and most merciful God, who hast given us a new commandment that we should love one another, give us also grace that we may fulfill it. Make us gentle, courteous, and patient. Direct our lives so that we may each look to the good of others in word and deed; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
–B. F. Westcott, Bishop and Bible scholar, (1825-1901)