Tag Archive | second grade

Character Counts

Tonight, our school, Trace Academy, will hold our graduation and awards ceremony. Unlike other schools, we don’t give individual awards for attendance, or service or scholarship. Those often are just compiled by the few. Instead, we give each child an award for character. Each teaching team spends a lot of time praying and pondering on each child and what we have seen in them this year. We want to encourage those things. We pick a character trait that we have seen in them such as honesty or good friend or resourcefulness and present them with that at the ceremony, along with a ribbon and a magnet with that word and a Bible verse that goes along with it.

Character counts. It’s who you are when no one is looking. It’s not the persona of an athlete or a scholar or a good citizen who picks up trash or feeds the homeless or collects money for the starving children in Africa. Those are all good things. But in the dark, where only God can see you, are you humble and gentle of heart? Do you pray for the salvation and needs of the world? Do you love others like Jesus loved? Are you honest and pure?

I will be up on the stage tonight, handing to my  10 second graders blue ribbons and magnet cards, but what I really hope to hand to them is encouragement to keep letting God build in them good character, which is only produced by perseverance.

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Thankful today for:

333. summer break!

334. our Incredible Journey plans coming together

335. the opportunity to sleep in, even if it doesn’t happen

336. my friend Sheryl, celebrating her birthday today

337. tonight’s event

338. sweet gifts and cards from my students

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What Teaching Has Taught Me

Tuesday ends my second year as a second-grade teacher. If I think that I have been in that classroom simply to teach those 10 8- and 9-year-olds reading, writing and arithmetic, then I am sorely mistaken. I’ve been in there to learn things myself. Here are a few of those things:

Our innate desire for justice is very strong.

Other people cannot know what we need if we don’t tell them.

Forgiveness sought and given restores relationships.

Our desire to flee increases exponentially with the difficulty of the task before us.

Even though we might fight it, we thrive when there is order. Chaos makes us crazy.

I may hear you, but sometimes I’m not really listening.

I won’t really learn if I don’t participate.

Every time we get together is a reason to celebrate.

Thankful today for:
312. A good school year
313. Bug spray
314. Life lessons
315. Seeing old friends
316. 3-day weekends
317. Those who gave their lives in the service of our country
318. My nephew Aaron whose golden birthday was yesterday
319. The sound of a horse’s whinny
320. My co-teacher and TA this past year

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I spent my day taking 10 second graders to Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, about an hour and a half drive from Orlando. I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, but I did buy them little heart cookies to have with their lunches at the lighthouse.

But for the last 20 years or so, there has been a group of us that has gone to dinner right around Valentine’s Day. This group has seen the birth of 9 children and the marriage of one. We’ve talked by cell phone from the restaurant of choice to one couple who moved to Thailand for two years. I was in labor with our second child one year. Had him the next day. We’ve never missed a year.

Jim and Carol have the oldest kids–the one who got married is theirs. David and I had our first “date” babysitting their kids. Carol convinced me to not give up on David when he was being a bozo.

Joel and Marjorie are like family to us. I’ve know Joel since my college days, and he and David used to live together. He was in our wedding and both of us were in theirs. Our kids call them Aunty Marjorie and Uncle Joel.

Greg and Jill have been our good friends for a long, long time. Greg used to be David’s boss. Now he’s one of our pastors. Jill is one of my best friends. She was Morgan’s teacher in first grade. Greg helped David tile our house. David helped Greg reroof his. Can’t get any more friendly than that!

David and Karen are the newest to our group. They filled the gap when Joel and Marjorie were in Thailand. They are friends we can always count on and enjoy spending time with.

This is our group minus David and Karen--before Joel and Marjorie went to Thailand.

It is a joy to have such good friends. Many people have only a couple of people they can count as close as family. We are blessed with these four couples–and many others who have come along into our lives after we started our dinner tradition.

We don’t have a date yet for this year, because the other David has been traveling overseas. He returns tomorrow. I expect we’ll be able to set a date for next week. The day doesn’t really matter. It’s whom you’re with.

I love these guys!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

More to be thankful for:

22. Take-out Chinese food for dinner

23. Wifi service at the Centra Care clinic

24. Modern medicine