Saturday, October 6, 2007

A STAR FOR A STAR - October 6, 2007

My husband, Rex, recently ran into someone who was very significant in our son’s life. Many of you who read today’s column may say that this woman was also significant in your life, or that of your child’s. For 29 years (and still counting), Mrs. Doris has been a daily substitute teacher at Anderson High School. Every time she runs into us, she eagerly asks about Matt and Beth. She not only remembers them, she also remembers who they hung around with. This is pretty amazing, given that Matt, our oldest, graduated from AHS in 1996—11 years ago!

Matt has fond memories of Mrs. Doris, not just from classroom and hallway encounters, but also from her presence at his football games and track meets, his graduation, his graduation open house… Goodness! Mrs. Doris must be the busiest person on the face of the earth on open house days! Everyone wants her to come to their house, and come, she does, with camera in hand. If you run into Mrs. Doris, it’s likely that she’ll dig into her purse for a picture she took of you and your friends that she’s been meaning to give you.

The year that Matt graduated, Mrs. Doris was awarded her very own letter jacket. The student body went wild, rocking the Wigwam with joy, as Mrs. Doris modeled her coat of honor. Mrs. Doris “lettered” in encouragement, enthusiasm, compassion, attentiveness, inspiration, loyalty, commitment, kindness, humor, hugs, smiles and twinkling eyes. An encounter with Mrs. Doris is an encounter with grace.

I am very thankful for the Mrs. Doris’ in my kids’ lives. There is so much in life that wears our self esteem thin and we need mentors and encouragers who love us and believe in us, who show us there is goodness in life, and who model for us the qualities that make a person truly great. If I could sum up in one phrase the gift that Mrs. Doris bestows on kids, it’s the message that, “You are significant.”

Even more important than conveying to children that they are significant to us, is our responsibility of conveying how very significant they are to their Heavenly Father. The psalmist, David, captures this beautifully in the 139th psalm:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. ... you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

David understood, from the inside out, that he was significant in God’s eyes and that God had a plan for his life. We can each be a Mrs. Doris in the life of a child, conveying to them their significance to us, and most especially, their significance to God.

Mrs. Doris loves to tell the story of how touched she was when our Matt gave her his captain’s star to put on her jacket. Like Matt, please let the Mrs. Doris’ of your life know that, in your eyes—and in God’s—they are a shining star.

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