I had a good day today.
There are plenty of things I could say about what went poorly this week or how my life would be easier if I could walk, but I had this incredible conversation with Tessa just a couple of hours ago about how we both love Jesus and we both want to love Jesus better. Growth. Fruit. Good things.
One of the things Tessa mentioned was being able to identify how God is growing good fruit in and around us as confirmation of doing what God has called us to. Both of us have life experiences of unhealthy environments and have made choices to be as healthy as possible where we are currently called by God. We also have realistic open handed approaches that let God direct us instead of imposing our ideas into our life plans. God laughs at our ideas.
I mentioned last week that I needed to revise my project guidelines for this group of students who I have seen behave in very unkind and immature ways. We had a stern come to Jesus lesson on Monday where I told them that I wanted to encourage them to grow up, and I'm so proud of how many of them made strides to stay focused and use class time responsibly. I really do think they are a quality group of young people - and I think this can be a turning point for them to decide they will behave more kindly. Particularly those who choose to be Jesus followers, I hope this will be a moment to think about how they act and who they represent with their behaviours.
I hope my seniors will also learn similar lessons. I was incredibly disheartened by the rude behaviour of half my class on Friday, and in discussing it with three other seniors, I lamented the disrespect these generally kind kids lashed out at me with. I asked the three at my table about what skills actually needed to be taught and where students were just being lazy. We had a really fruitful discussion about how their learning has been impacted by covid irregularity in the learning environment but also how it was time for them to grow up too. Some [old] people will gripe about "kids these days" and give a laundry list of complaints about how teenagers aren't like what they were like. I'm here to tell you I have great hope for the future. Listen, these kids aren't perfect and they definitely have a lot of growing up to do, but I'm on their side. I'm going to make every effort to teach them, train them, disciple them. I'm invested in their growth because they are worth it.
Not only are they worth it, but I believe they can go on to outshine us all. These kids have capacity and resources and ingenuity and ability - it's my responsibility to help aim them towards Jesus and encourage them to use all that great potential to love God and love others. These kids are the fruit of my labor, and as Tessa pointed out to me today, even just one kid like Lissy choosing to carry my new "lasagna dish" home from the pottery market and make me her special recipe of hot chocolate and returning to the outside world to love God and love others with intention and beauty is enough. I'm richly blessed to know that Lissy is a great example of good fruit God has grown through my life in addition to a dozen other names of kids who've come through my class and refocused their trajectory on loving God and loving others.
Anyone who calls themselves a Jesus follower is called to cultivate that good fruit, to live in such a way that not only do you grow closer to Jesus but people around you are inclined to know more about this Jesus dude. From my experience, it's a totally beautiful life to see people's lives transformed - and to be one of the transformed people who loves better and can help heal the world, tikkun olam if you will.