Monday, January 22, 2007

differences

To be different in middle school is a curse beyond imagining. The primary goal at this point and time in life is to be like everyone else. Same clothes, same way of talking, same likes and dislikes. Any difference is paramount to social suicide.

I am getting a new student. He will be different. New and different. It must be scary for him. I spoke to his class today about his difference, and was amazed at the response. Sometimes, kids have a way of surprising us adults, while putting us to shame at the same time. They were very understanding, even sympathetic to his sitation. They actually put themselves in his shoes, wondered aloud what it would be like to have to take notes or speak in front of the class with this disability. I was pleased.

I occasionally get a glimpse of that middle school student in adults. The unsympathetic one. The one that covers his or her mouth and whispers to their neighbor to let the different one know they are being spoken about. Or the cold shoulder to make perfectly clear that the different one is not accepted. My heart goes out to the different one. I make it my mission to let them know that different isn't bad.

We as adults are uncomfortable with different. We like to see things in others that make us comfortable and safe, and different is scary. It puts US in the situation of being the new kid in that new class, and it's not a good feeling. So we shun different, and applaud same.

But God uses different. God uses weak. God uses broken. It's His favorite thing: to bring out the beauty of different and show Himself through it all. I've become the champion of different lately. I like teeth that haven't been straightened by braces, though one of my kids will soon get braces. I like hearing life stories that are different from mine. I like hearing how God has taken someone with a checkered past and has given them a new heart, life and passion. It speaks to the power and grace of our Living God. How can we shun that?

1 comment:

Gina said...

Beautiful post! Kids do suprise us sometimes, don't they. And I've been learning the lesson that I need to LISTEN to them more because they really have good things to say.