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Blog: Lee Younger

It's About Time

CCC Oak Ridge

I’ve been waiting for this day. Actually, I’ve been praying for this day. In fact, I was just telling a couple of my friends at breakfast this morning about how I’ve been praying for this day. So, what happened to day that was an answer to prayer? Well, it’s going to sound weird when you first hear it, but here goes: Today, Anna got in trouble at school...
 
Let me give you a little back story. You see, Anna is a great kid. Now, I know everyone thinks their kid is great and all, but I’m telling you, Anna is the kind of kid that teachers love to have in their classes. She loves school. She loves teachers. She loves to please people and loves to have the good opinion of authority figures. She loves rules and she loves to keep them. She’s in first grade right now and so far has never gotten in trouble in school... at all. In her classroom, everyone has a traffic light and when you get in trouble, you have to change your light. Each light change represents a different disciplinary consequence. A week or so ago, Anna was telling me a story about a boy in her lass who had to change his light twice that day and how much trouble he was in. I asked Anna if she had to change her light and she flipped out. “Dad!” she said, “I have never had to change my light, ever!”

On the one hand, it’s great that she’s such a fine student and good little citizen in her classroom, but on the other hand, Christy and I don’t want her to feel like she has to be perfect. Anna is the kind of kid that is devastated if she gets in trouble or has to be corrected. She’s harder on herself than anyone else is, and that is exactly why I’ve been praying for this day. I want Anna to mess up. I want her to fall short and get in trouble so that she learns from her mom and dad that it’s okay and that she’s still loved. In other words, I have been longing for an opportunity to really show her grace on her own terms.

The call came while I was at lunch. Wednesday is my day to pick up Anna from school and Christy called to let me know what I was in for... Anna’s teacher had called the house today because Anna didn’t follow directions and had to change her light. Actually, that’s not why her teacher called. It’s not the practice of first grade teachers to call home after one little light change, but poor Anna was so emotionally devastated by this occurrence that Christy received a call. I was so excited! Anna changed her light! I jumped in my car and drove to the school. There she was in the car line waiting to be picked up with a fragile, pensive look on her face. The door opened, she got in and with a trembling voice uttered, “Dad, today I had to change my light.” A couple of tears eased their way out before she saw my face beaming at her with the biggest, warmest smile I could muster. As jovially as I could, I said, “Anna! I love you!”

Why would I pray for my child to get in trouble? Why would I hope for her to get busted for doing wrong? Because! There’s nothing in this world better for a human heart than a self-awareness of the necessity of grace! Finding out that we’re weak, broken, imperfect and needy is the beginning of all our eternal happiness! Paul says in Romans 3 that this is the very reason God gave us the Ten Commandments... to close every bragging mouth before God and show everyone they need Him! He says in Romans chapter 11 that, “God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” Isn’t that amazing? God is going to make sure we know we need Him. It’s good to find out you need mercy and grace, because mercy and grace are abundant in Christ!

After Anna buckled up her seat belt, I asked her if I could hold her hand, and she said I could. Within a couple of minutes, the tears were gone and she was laughing and telling me about her day, squeezing my hand all the way home.