Saturday, March 17, 2012

Those Peculiar People

There was a family of known eccentrics who lived in our town. The father collected old foreign cars of various colors, and each driver in the family cruised around in one car or the other.

The girls’ made a fashion statement every time they stepped foot out the door, styling and profiling, wearing whatever suited their taste. It didn’t have to be chic; it just had to be what they liked. My friend (I’ll call her Angelica) showed up at my 12th birthday party wearing a leopard print tam before anyone had ever seen such a thing, even in Vogue.

They were the talk of the town, especially after the mother spent a whole week up the flagpole at the county fair. That’s right; she spent one solid week living at the top of the flagpole at the Wayne County fair.  These folks were fearless, especially of others’ opinions.

David, one of the grownup sons, attended our church. One day something like a three-ring circus was happening in the sanctuary, some special service for the children. Clowns frolicked up and down the aisles with collection buckets for the special offering.

He sat back all blasé with arms crossed, taking in the spectacle. Finally he spoke ever so bold, “Money changers in my Father’s house.”

One day we heard that the mother had cancer; the prognosis was grim. It appeared that she was on her deathbed when we went to pray for her. She lay there, face and lips pale as moon, body languid and pond-still.

David appreciated all the prayers for her peaceful entry into glory land, but stated in no uncertain terms that he was walking by faith, not sight. His mother would be healed, he did not doubt in his heart

Within weeks, we saw the ill woman whole and riding a bike downtown as though she’d never seen a sickbed a day in her life.

That’s when I decided that being one of those peculiar people might not be so bad after all.

What about you? Are you one of them too?

When you hear the word “faith” what picture comes to your mind? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Counting Stones

Comparison is the thief of joy.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

The burdens grow heavier as you get older and school gets harder. Feels like a sack of stones weighing you down. You can’t get math right to save your life. You’re not as smart as the others. You’re one fry short of a Happy Meal.  In fact, you’re so dense you might as well die…

So you plan your escape on the bus one afternoon as you pass the same rural route you’ve traveled every day to the week for the past six years. But the countryside now seems as dark and scary as a scene in a gothic horror show. Though it’s sunny on the outside, it’s raining inside of you and blurring your vision.  

You’re coming home with an “E” in math on your report card and you know your parents will soon kill you, so you think of ways to save them the trouble…

 If you had the guts you’d sneak your daddy’s double barrel off the gun rack and try blowing your brains out, but you don’t quite have the nerve for such drastic measures.  So then you think of your mother’s heart pills in the bathroom medicine cabinet…

And we wonder why the youth suicide rate is so high. As Edward B. Fiske said, “When was the last time you saw a tombstone with SAT scores inscribed on it”

“Not everything that can be counted counts,
and not everything that counts can be counted.”
~ Albert Einstein

Most of the things that really matter in life can’t be measured on a test. Can you measure authenticity, imagination, creativity, curiosity, empathy, compassion - all elements of an education that translate into necessary life skills? 

As a child, did you compare yourself with your peers based on your academic performance?

Should students be judged as successes or failures based on test scores? 

Why or why not? 

Joined in "Comparison: Thief of Joy" hosted by Linda and Corinne  
Sharing with LL Barkat at Seedlings in Stone.

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