by Doug Lawrence
This reminds me of the time I had to send a serial-misbehaving, disruptive sixth-grade boy to the principal’s office.
After a heart-to-heart talk, the principal walked him back and asked me – in front of all the students – if I would let him rejoin the class.
Truth be told, I liked the young man – but for a number of very practical reasons – I just couldn’t tolerate his disruptive classroom behavior – so I was more than happy to exclaim, “We’re all Catholics here – and Catholics firmly believe in repentance and forgiveness – so sure – he can come back to class – but only if we all resolve to work together – so as to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again.”
As I remember, the entire class seemed to appreciate the lesson – and some of the children were actually a bit surprised.
From that day forward, “John” became my official class gofer, reader, filer, messenger, and all around utility man. I realized that he just couldn’t tolerate sitting still, so I gave him things to do and permission to stand up and even walk around the back of the classroom – so long as he remained reasonably quiet and considerate. That would not be easy!
Of course, I reserved the right to let him know when things might be getting a bit out of control. His parents approved of our arrangement, and we had no more unfortunate class incidents.
Many years have gone by and I occasionally run into John, at Sunday Mass. He still can’t sit still, but he has become a bright, energetic, cheerful and polite young adult. He manages to hold down a regular job and keep the faith – and in my book, all of that counts for at least ninety percent.
I always enjoy seeing him.
May God continue to bless him – along with all those who struggle to overcome their various personal shortcomings – whatever they might be – by the power of God’s grace – and with a little help from their friends.