Do you remember the song, “School Days?” Ryan and I sure do. Believe it or not, we sang it together when we were four years old at our Jack and Jill Preschool play. My parents still have the video of it on an old 8mm reel. The song was 74 years old the year we sang it in 1981.
It was written in 1907 by two childhood friends, Gus Edwards and Will D. Cobb, as they reflected back on their days in school together.
“School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days
Reading and riting and rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick
You were my queen in calico
I was bashful, barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate,”I love you, Joe”
I wonder just how much our school days have changed since 1907. We’ve come a long way from our grandparents stories of walking miles and miles uphill in the snow one way. Most of our buses are new with air conditioning. Gone are the days of chalkboards. Promethean boards fill most classrooms. I could go on and on with the changes and so could you, but here’s one thing that still applies…THE GOLDEN RULE! “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you!” In 1907, they might have learned them as Jesus’s words from Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Ryan and I went on a date night this week. It was unexpected and we both decided to head out to the movies. I love a good thriller, and I had heard that “The Gift” was a good one. We bought the large popcorn for the extra 25 cents with free refills, that we of course could not finish, and found our way to our seats for what we hoped to be a great movie. Like most movies these days, we left disappointed. The movie was a sad story about a bully that had grown up a successful business man that climbed his way to the top by the same tactics he chose as a child…he was a BULLY. He told lies about people that were not true and caused great destruction in those lives that had a ripple effect.
Our words have the power to BUILD UP or DESTROY! “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those that love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
As Ryan and I left the movie theater, we both asked each other if there were moments that we wish we could take back from our childhood days. I certainly do. There were times that I used my words to destroy. I said mean and ugly things that left a girl in tears. I can still see her to this day in my head as I visualize her running off to tell the teacher. I was in 3rd grade at Annie Simms Elementary on the playground by the monkey bars. I can even remember the girl’s braided pig tails. Each time I recall it tears surface. I know I have been forgiven from the ugliness of that day, but I am so grateful that I remember. I have told the story very vividly to my own girls. It’s not something I am proud of, but I hope in me sharing it with them that it teaches them that’s its something that I regret saying. It brought harm to someone deeply and it’s not anything I can take back.
Friends, there are children facing some very difficult and dark situations in this life. Some of the things I have seen make my heart absolutely break. I know they break our Lord’s. Just this week I have seen victims of suicide, drug overdose, homelessness, high school drop out and more. Going to school for these student’s is their escape from their darkness yet most of these student’s are the very ones that are having words used to destroy them. Let’s teach our children to use their words to build them UP! Think of the power and influence those words might have on them. Instead of hearing you will never be anything, they could hear, “You can be anything you want to be.”
The movie actually moved Ryan to action. He reached out to one of our old childhood friends (Chris Phelps…SHOUT OUT…YOU are AMAZING GIRL! Keep SHINING bright!) that has started a non-profit and wrote a book (Tacky Box) with tools for children about this very subject. I invite you to take a look at what she is doing and how she is making a difference in the lives of many through the school programs that are spreading nation wide, Campaign For Kindness. Ryan is working with his Rotary Group of Fair Oaks to bring her to our school district to educate and teach on this important subject. Maybe you are moved to take action too. Let’s put a stop to bullying and teach the importance of being kind to others and following The Golden Rule! It’s a worthy cause that has a beautiful impact not only for our world but for His Kingdom! #gloryup
Father, Thank you for your Holy word that teaches us to treat others the way we would want to be treated. Help us to remember the times we have hurt others with our words so we will repent and turn away from doing it again. Help us to be examples to our children. May they see us as those that build others UP and not tear them down. Father, give our children strength to stand up against bully’s by offering kindness to them. Father, I lift up every Teacher and Administrator in ALL schools all around your world. Please use them to bring glory and honor to your name. Protect all of the precious children, Lord, big and small and help them to learn and grow this year so they can be all that you designed them to be. Thank you for loving us all and giving us all the best gift we could ever receive, JESUS! In His Holy name I pray, Amen!