Last weekend i took DS1 to go see To Save a Life. I thought it was really good. It made me think about how i relate to others, and how i relate to God as well. In the movie the main character, Jake Taylor, has his eyes opened to a "new" 'caste' of kids at school. Kids that are routinely ignored and belittled. The story follows Jake as he struggles with the suicide of a friend from his youth and trying to make sense of it. What he might have done different. In many ways the movie brought back a ton of memories from when i was in school.
I was definitely not one of the 'cool' kids, but by God's grace a made a few good friends early on, and i am still friends with most of them. At the last High School i attended the first friend i made was VAMP. He reached out to me pretty much the first week of school my first year there. Even though we are no longer 'tight', we are still friends. The next guy was TYNIE. He had it pretty rough as well. His father had died in a house fire, and lived in the house that was rebuilt over the same place. We used to do an annual New Years Eve movie party. I've not spoken with him in years. Next was ORK. His mother had passed away (from cancer i think). ORK was sort of the organizer of our little band. He is a dedicated man to his father and brother who still live with him. Then there was DDD. He is actually a '3rd' having been named after his Father and Grand Father. We joined the Guard a week apart. He got married and we drifted apart, but have recently renewed the friendship via Facebook of all things. Last, but by far not least was RAM. He reached out to a lonely kid and invited him over to his house the second to last year of school (for me). RAM and i are still really good friends. His wife and my Beloved went to college together, and she was instrumental in my Beloved becoming a believer in Christ. Our kids play together all the time and are really good friends. Their son and my DS2 almost look like twins (even having people asking us if they are) and are only a month a part in age.
School was drudgery for me. Something to be survived. I did have a handful of teachers that really made a difference in my life. The first one was an elementary school teacher. I don't even remember his name, but i remember him have a bulletin board off to one side of the class. He put a challenge to his students. On the board were the numbers 0 to 100. The challenge was to create a math problem that solved to each of those numbers. The catch... you could only use four 4's. The first few were solved quickly and easily. 4+4+4+4=16, etc. Others took a little longer like 4/4 x 4 +4 = 8. Eventually the trickle subsided and he introduced new functions... the square root, to the power, etc. I ate it up. By the time most of the other kids had given up i was messing with all kinds of math functions and working on manipulating those fours like nobody's business. When it dried up so bad he gave us an incentive that he would buy an ice cream for each problem solved. I turned in three the next day, but he only gave me one ice cream cone. From then on i only turned in one a day. 8) He opened up a new world for me. To this day i still love do math problems, but i've lost some of the skills i learned to lack of use. Three teachers in High School i also remember. One was my 10th grade English teacher. I can't remember her name either, but she taught me about communication. If the person wishing to convey a message to the listener, it has to be understood in the same manner in which it was intended, or communication is breaking down. The other two were Mr. Pine my History teacher, and Mr. Blecher my industrial studies teacher. Both of those men taught me that i had value as a person. I was not just another problem child moving through their classes. Both men took personal interest in me, even if i did not return the favor or appreciate what they were doing at the time.
For me, i hope my faith in God is real, and apparent to the world around me. Not to beat those who do not believe over the head with my Bible, but to just be honest with who i am and what i believe. And that if they are interested i am available for questions, and not to "judge" them, but to present the gospel and show that i am not a perfect human being either. I know i still struggle with my own selfishness and pride, and i am definitely NOT a master of communication, but i hope that while i walk out my sanctification, i become a better presenter and sharer of the gospel.