The Gathering: Burleson
by Rachel Wells
We had tears on the way to school this morning. Normally that is not a good thing. But this case was a little different - it was my eight-year-old, confessing that he was very nervous about the teacher rearranging the seating assignments today.
That's usually exciting, not upsetting - so I began asking questions, trying to understand. He told me that the six other kids at his table weren't really the kids that he would have chosen to sit by. They talk a lot when the teacher is talking, and he's already having a really hard time concentrating and listening.
Okay...but that still didn't seem enough to warrant the level of frustration that I was seeing. I started to explain that there have only been two days of school, and he's got to give it some time to get worked out...and then the waterworks really started. "Mom," he said, "they ask me for help, and I can't help all of them all the time. I want to help them, and I try really hard, but I just can't do it all by myself. I'm already so tired."
Well shoot, now I am crying, too! Bless his sweet heart.
As a part of our missional community’s Rule of Life, every day on the way to school my little family recites together:
"Today I will pay attention, today I will see Jesus, today I will be Jesus, today I will mess up." And by golly, he gets it and is DOING it.
The other thing we say together every morning is: "When faced with a challenge, I will choose my attitude, I will look for an opportunity, we will find a way forward together." So he chose to keep his helpful attitude and throw the frustration out. We worked out a plan for him to talk to his teacher about it, and it sounds like together, they came up with a good plan for him to be able to listen and concentrate a little more easily, but still have plenty of opportunities to help.
To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this "Rule of Life" thing in the beginning. But our community has meticulously shaped it into something easy to say and do, even for our youngest members. Our Rule of Life has grown and changed as our community has grown and changed. These simple and familiar words have truly been a blessing, beyond my wildest dreams. The common ground that they provide between all of our community members has made sharing everyday events even more meaningful. And as a parent, this connection with my kids has been an invaluable tool - providing a starting place for those times when you don't even know when to start, and words for those times when having to come with your own words is exhausting. It's good stuff. You should try it. Pay attention - you just may have more "see Jesus" and "be Jesus" around you than you think. And having the framework in place to expect imperfection in yourself - and those you love - is freeing.