What I Learned in Elementary School…

On Fridays I volunteer at our local elementary school. When I arrived yesterday, I learned that the classes were decorating their doors in honor of Black History Month. The class I help with is also my daughters first grade class. They had been reading and studying about Ruby Bridges who showed great courage by attended a school where she wasn’t wanted.

The teacher informed me that we were going to use the word courage and showcase the life of Mrs. Ruby Bridges. After receiving instructions I was off to the copy room to make things happen. I was just sitting down and getting started on punching out letters when I heard a familiar voice.

The voice was soft, almost angelic and sincere as it spoke of Jesus and what a difference He and church can make in the life of a family. I had to know if I was right on the voice. Sure enough I was. There in the hallway stood one of my lifelong friends sharing Jesus with a mom who was at her wit’s end.

Upon rejoining the class I was able to hear the children list the times when they had to show courage. Their topics ranged from doing cartwheels, sleeping alone, to jumping in the river. Each one drew a picture of themselves facing their fears and showing courage.

Later on, I was decorating the door when I overheard another conversation. A teacher had asked “Who is that whistling?” to her class which was walking down the hall. Everyone stopped and for a minute no one said anything. Then very slowly one little hand appeared above the rest of the class. “It was me”, he said.

The teacher reminded him that it was wrong to be whistling and disturbing other classes, but she also praised him for being honest. She told him it showed great courage to admit he had done wrong. He lost 5 minutes of recess, but he had the honor of being courageous.

Later on that day, one of Jayden’s classmates asked me if I would pray for his family. They didn’t go to church, but he knew Jayden and I did. He had seen us bow our heads in prayer over our lunch. He told me that his family had been invited to go to church this Sunday. He wanted to go but was afraid that his parents would change their minds. He also told me he was a little scared, because he had never been to church before. I assured him I would.

Later when I got home and finally found a few moments I looked up courage in the dictionary. Courage is facing your fear, but there are four categories of courage–Bravery, Perseverance, Honesty and Zest.

I had seen all of these categories displayed throughout the day. My friend showed bravery, honesty and zest as she witnessed to the mother. The first graders showed bravery, perseverance and honesty as they shared their fears. The child in the hallway showed bravery and honesty. The lone first grader showed me bravery, perseverance and honesty.

Over all I think the greatest example to me was the lone first grader. Sometimes the greatest display of courage is admitting we are scared and we need help. So often we as Christians keep our problems to ourselves, afraid others will not understand or judge us. The children of God should not feel that way with one another. We should be free to share our victories as well as our struggles.

Finding courage must be the greatest need of all. “Do not be afraid” is the most repeated command in the Bible. May God remind us just as He did with Joshua that we have nothing to fear because He is with us.

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9.

God promises you and I the same thing. There is nothing to fear if God is leading the way. If we could only grasp that fact, I believe we could indeed move mountains.

For I know,

Renee Kinlaw
Job 19:25-27

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