Outside the Box
There has never been a year where school wasn’t part of my life. I went from being a student, to a coach, to a teacher, to an administrator. I’ve worked in just about every kind...inner city, rural, urban, private, public, elementary, middle, and high. I’ve found that kids are pretty much the same everywhere you go. Some have more and some have less. Some have experienced more and some less. But for the most part, kids are the same. Adults are the same.
Most of us are looking for a place to belong. We want to be accepted, loved and appreciated. We want to be somewhere that makes us happy. We want to be able to be successful. Most of us don't mind challenges...but we desire someone to help us through them.
I love school. I love kids. I love people. But everywhere I have been, there is another thing I have noticed. Some kids just don't fit in the box that school tries to put them in. It’s hard for these kids. Really hard. Maybe even torturous. To have to spend all day, every day being defined by what you should look like and be like is tough. Especially when people fail to understand you.
But here is the thing, every kid that doesn’t fit in the box is someone’s son or daughter. Every kid that doesn’t fit in the box is a child of the Father. Scripture says we all came from one blood. So sometimes, I think schools have to learn to do a better job of speaking “outside of the box.” That’s a hard language. Especially when you don’t know it. Maybe we should let the ones “outside the box” teach us how to speak it.
It was one of our teachers that decided to honor law enforcement officers from our county yesterday. We had six of them show up to be recognized by our students. The sheriff himself came to spend a little bit of time with our students. We were honored to say the least.
But then there was this one little boy. Outside the box little boy. I have gotten to know him pretty well. He has a difficult situation. He doesn’t care much for school. He feels like he doesn’t belong. And he dreams of wearing a uniform.
So as I walked him into that room where the sheriff and the other officers were eating, his eyes lit up like I have never seen them light up before. He walked up to Mr. Kevin Turner, Madison County Sheriff, and introduced himself. Mr. Turner asked him, “Do you play football?” The young man replied, “No. I want to be a soldier or a police officer.” And he stood there talking to Mr. Turner with stars in his eyes. Reaching for something that would impress Mr. Turner, the young man said, “I’ve always liked Andy Griffith.” The room burst into laughter.
It was a beautiful moment. Likely the highlight of the year for that young man. And what’s really cool is the fact that there was another officer in that room who had walked the halls of Madison Cross Roads as an elementary school student. And nobody knows what kind of grades he made, how much trouble he got into, how many friends he had, or whether or not he fit into the box. But box or no box, he had a dream...and he accomplished it. And that’s the story.
And, I guess, the story that I am trying to write this morning is about what God can do with a little seed, in a little moment. We get so focused on what the picture is supposed to look like...and when it doesn’t look like what we dream or envision...we panic and we try to force it to look the way we envisioned it. I speak from experience. But fortunately for us, God has way better vision than we do. And He knows how to plant seeds. And He knows what matters and what doesn’t.
I don’t know if that little boy will ever wear his own uniform or not. I don’t know if that dream will change or be the same in twenty years. But I do know this...yesterday one of our teachers thought outside the box and orchestrated that moment. Her goal was to honor law enforcement officers. It was well deserved. And I am proud it was accomplished at Madison Cross Roads.
But God had a bigger plan that remains invisible to the rest of us. He used her actions to touch a heart, inspire dreams, and maybe even to write the first page of a legacy. Leave it to the Father to know how to reach his child...even if He has to go outside the box.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21