Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A rose by any other name



This story has been on my heart a long time.  When I was teaching 4th graders, there would always be a time in the school year that I would need to address how we treat each other.  Always there was a student in the class who was "different" from the others.  Maybe they were a different size or shape.  Maybe their personality made them not stand out or stand out too much.  Possibly a disability that was physical.  The time would always arise when we needed to address how to treat people and that they rarely are on the inside the way we see them on the outside.  And so I would gather them around on the floor as I seated my self in the rocker and tell them this......

" There is a rose bush in my yard that is UGLY.  That rose bush was a gift.  On a trip home from college, my husband and daughter stopped and bought that bush for me because it was Mother's Day and they were driving my daughter home.  When they gave me the bush I cringed.  There were no flowers on it, jut the picture that is attached to show what it should look like.  I smiled and gave the thank yous that are appropriate and I planted the bush.  What made me plant it where it is was God's plan not mine.  Why?  Because when you step out the back door and look straight into the garden, the first thing you see is this ugly rose bush.  Why is it ugly?  The branches are thick and thorny.  Not just thorns, but BIG thorns.  The limbs have no symmetry.  They go out in all haphazard directions. It takes up a lot of room.  So much room that I now cant plant anything around it and have had to let that part of the garden grow grass.  But......that rose bush produces the most beautiful roses in my garden.  They are as large as a saucer, with a beautiful color, and soooooo fragrant.  They are amazing!  And when I looked at them I am reminded that you absolutely cannot look at the outside and judge what is on the inside. How many times do you look at someone, notice they are not like you, that there is something very different or strange, and then turn away from them or make fun of them?  Christ tells us to treat everyone the same.  The way the appear is no reflection on what they are like on the inside."

When I finish with the story it is quiet.  And the reaction is usually a change in the attitude of the class.  Simple stories can make a huge difference with children.

God uses that bush in my life in so many ways.  Not just in the classroom, but when I say something I know is not right or true, the reminder of that bush grabs me. I am praying daily, in this solitude time of my life, to be less judgemental.  It is easy to judge and therefore I am reminded of another phrase I used not only in my class, but with my own children....if it's easy..... it probably isn't right.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful. thank you for this! I think the story could be used also for situations in our life that we don't understand but that God may be using for good...