My oldest grandson is now in 8th grade. Wow! How could that be possible? I know it's hard to believe - especially for our younger CRers, but I was once in 8th grade too. And I remember it like it was just yesterday! Really! Loved Music and English. Science and Math... not so much.
My dad was actually pretty cool about the fact that I wasn't ever going to be a rocket scientist. After all, Todd came along and I'm pretty sure he got all the good math and science genes. Dad never gave me any grief about my grades. He would just ask me if I did my best. If I could honestly say yes, then everything was ok by him.
Dad DID care very much about my attitude in school.
I don't know how they report student's progress now. I should probably ask my 8th grade grandson. They probably send grades via Internet to the parents. Grayden will probably just say, "Grandpa - they got an app for that!"
Back in the day we received 4 report cards a year. Report card day was a day of nervous anticipation. In 1970 the teachers could give out the report cards to the students and have a reasonable expectation they would actually be delivered.
I sweated out that whole long day of my first period report card in 8th grade.
Eighth grade must have been different back then. I remember once sitting in the cafeteria during study hall, when I got bonked in the head with a spit ball. Of course I had to retaliate. Just as I was arching back my arm to deliver the wettest wad I'd ever thrown, out of the corner of my eye I spied the principal of the school looking down on me from his inside second story window. I checked my swing and pretended like I was just stretching out my arm. No good.
Click. Click. Click.
The principal was tapping on his window. Everyone looked up. He pointed to me. Everyone looked at me. He then wagged his finger for me to come up to his office.
I did not receive my best hope.
The principal pulled out his 5-foot wooden paddle from his closet. There were holes in the paddle to cut down on the wind resistance. His appliance of corporal punishment was lacquered and shiny, as if he had been polishing it all day just for me. I remember having to control my bladder as he told me to assume the position. Those were the days when a kid could get a whack for almost throwing a spitball.
What would my dad think of this? Would he sue the school if he found out? Nope. The standing order of the day was a repeat performance at home if Dad found out. I remember making sure he didn't find out in 1970. (He reads this newsletter so I suppose he'll find out now. The secret finally revealed in 2017.)
Report card day came around and attitude mattered to Dad. Would there be a reference to my spit-balling, whack-inducing episode? I remember seeing the report card and immediately seeing no "comments." That was good. Then I remember seeing my grades. All As and Bs. That was very good. Maybe I was going to luck out!
Then I glanced at the attitude column. Next to the "B" in Math, I received a "7" in attitude. A "7"? I didn't even know there was a "7"! "1" stood for exceptional attitude. "2" meant I had an average attitude. I needed "1's". I could get away with "2's." "3" meant I had little interest & effort. "4" was the worst, I had thought, meaning that I had poor class participation. I had never received a "4." Those "3's" were brutal enough.
I glanced down to find the key to the attitude score. What was a "7"? Then I read the words that would mean the longest walk home ever. "Disturbs class." O man, was I ever in for it.
Dad probably doesn't remember the talk we had that night. But I remember it like it was yesterday. He reminded me of the importance of giving everything my very best. He told me how much he thought I could achieve in life if I simply believed enough in myself to accomplish it. He told me that no one would ever remember my grades, but my attitude would follow me everywhere. Then he said the words that he only said to me once in all my life.
He was disappointed in me.
That was it. No more punishment. He walked away. Just "disappointment." I remember it until now because I would have preferred a whipping to hearing his disappointment in me. It wasn't like he even said it harshly or meanly. There might have even been a tear in his eye. I know for sure there were in mine.
Dad taught me a lesson I have never forgotten. The heart of the matter is that the heart matters. It's what's inside that counts!
I'm pretty sure that's what Jesus was thinking when he watched the widow drop in her two coins to the offering basket. She gave more than all the others because she gave all she had.
When we get to Heaven someday and have the chance to sit down with our Heavenly Father, will we be able to say we did our best? Will we have a good attitude about life when things don't go the way we want? When we're exhausted with duty? When we're discouraged with lackluster results? When our own kiddos don't have the attitude we think they should?
Sunday we're going to talk about 7 ways the heart matters. We'll conclude with one of my favorite Psalms. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10) Want a head start? The online sermon notes are here.
Children Lead Our Worship Sunday! The first Sunday of each month means that our children sit through the worship service with us. What a great opportunity to teach them about the meaning of church family... not to mention about how to sit still. And to teach the adults the meaning of patience and acceptance and love.
As always our children will be leading too! Grayden and Cohen will serve with their dad, Jonathan, in the tech booth. Leia, Sicily and Anna will join Cindy and Brandi in leading our singing. Also, Sicily and Anna have been working on a flute duet to perform for you during our offertory.
Finally, I've prepared a special children's sermon that we'll enjoy together before the main sermon of the day. I'll invite the kiddos up front with me and we'll talk about last week's subject of following the right friends. As always we'll get their take on it. Kids do say the darnedest things!
Neighborhood Meal Oct. 14th. On the second Saturday evening in October, we'll be serving up free, hot meals to those in our neighborhood downtown. We usually see between 70 and 100 folks from around our church come in for the meal. Thanks so much Sheri for leading the way for us!
We all need to help Sheri too! Plan to show up at the church by 4pm. We need lots of volunteers. We begin serving the meal at 5pm. We usually finish - all cleaned up and walking out the door - by 6:30pm. We also give brownie points to anyone bringing brownies, or any other dessert to share!
Housewarming and Bonfire October 21st. Eddie and Brandi are inviting all of us to their new home to share the joy of their new home! Lots of their family and church family will be showing up. We'll enjoy a fun bonfire in their back yard and have a great time of fellowship. Show up anytime between 5pm and 9pm. We'll be sharing their new address at the church (and not online, right?)
That's it boys and girls. Lot of personal inside stories today. Hope you liked it. And I hope to see most of you Sunday morning at 11am. Love you much! Pastor Mark