For your consideration……

Today’s message came in reminding me of a conversation I had yesterday at school. I remember agreeing with the young student teacher but at the same time having a nagging “sad” feeling. It was the end of the day and I was off to meet my friend, Linda. Excited to do that, I did not give any more thought to the conversation. Then this morning I was reminded of it. It is brought to us as not only today’s message but also as a reminder to me to take care of the people put in my path. Haven’t we had many messages about that? People are put there for a reason. You are the right person for the moment. Do right by it. Yeah, well I think I failed the “in the moment” part but I am getting the today’s message part. So here it is.

The entire 8th grade class in the middle school was taken to see Selma yesterday. I have not seen it but I will. Clearly it had a profound impact on these students. Their conversation about it was thoughtful and enlightening. There was a student teacher in the room who has one more year to go until graduation from the University of Michigan. Like many if not most colleges, U of M is very liberal in their thinking and teaching and it has clearly impacted her.

I asked her where she wanted to teach and what grades. Her answer was Middle School. She stated that she HOPEs to go back to the small town where she is from to teach and “introduce more social awareness.”

Now I have to tell you that Middle School is my favorite but it is rare to have someone agree with me. Many teachers, student teachers and even parents say stay away from Middle School. No doubt, Middle School is a challenge. We have to remember it is a challenge for the young people as well. They want to be a child and an adult at the same time. I asked her why she wanted Middle School. Her response was “Because they are full of HOPE.” She is so right.

So what made me “sad?” This student teacher has identified the loss of “full of HOPE.” Where do we lose it? Evidently, it is somewhere between Middle School and finishing college. How can that be? Why doesn’t it continue to build throughout high school and through college. Why aren’t our college students graduating bursting with HOPE?

It goes back to the proverbial, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” Are we reflecting in our teaching, politics and the news a world half full or half empty of opportunities and possibilities? Intention is not what we are talking about today because that is often really what the debate should be about and where we fall apart as a society.

No, what we are talking about is focusing on the successes versus the failures. We are talking on where faith, HOPE and love have conquered insurmountable odds. The news does not focus on our successes. Our government does not focus on our successes. The news does not focus on our successes. Unfortunately, neither does today’s higher education system focus on our successes as a country or the world in general. We fire students up in grade school and on into Middle School. Then we let them down preaching, teaching and highlighting failure versus success.

I have often told my girls, “Anyone can whine. Come to me when you have some possible solutions.” This was not that I expected them to solve all their problems on their own. Of course, I wanted to help. The point was to take the focus off of the negative and put it on the positive. Often we feel defeated because we feel we have lost control. Brainstorming solutions shows that we still have control. We CAN do something. The focus is shifted off of failure and onto success.

And so the point of today’s message is that we have control if we choose. We can choose to ignore the media and politicians. We can choose to focus on success versus failure and we can teach our children to do the same. We can ignite and stoke HOPE. We have a choice. We always have a choice.

That is the HOPE. And so it is.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, HOPE by HOPE action steps anyone can take…..

-Meditate/pray….ask….”What is my next step for my highest good and the highest good of all?”

-Drink lots of water.

-Get outdoors and take in at least 10 deep breaths.

-Stoke HOPE not only in yourself but in others. Focus on success.

What made me smile yesterday…..

-A really easy school day.

-Thoughtful students.

-Catching up with Linda. I love synchronicity.

-Dinner at the club with Bruce.

Love, Blessings and Gratitude,

Rev. Chris


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