This was the week. In they came with new haircuts, fancy outfits, complicated and cool hairstyles and big, wide toothless grins. Ah yes! It is school picture day. Always an exciting day for the kids and always a big concern for me of how to ensure that 20 plus kids keep themselves neat and tidy, free of such things as grass stains, Kool- Aid moustaches or chocolate pudding smears at least until their pictures are taken.
I recall a humorous episode of the Arthur cartoon about school pictures. Francine who is quite a tomboy with the help of Muffy who is a little fashionista, gets a complete makeover for school picture day. It is quite uncomfortable for her and definitely not what she is used to. Unfortunately it takes so long in the school day to get her picture done that by the time she finally says “Cheese,” she looks like a complete, hot mess! I frequently use her as an example as my students are very familiar with the Arthur series and we always have a good chuckle over it. Also in the book David Goes to School by David Shannon, it shows David goofing off in the class picture and how bad it looks in the end. This is a great visual of what not to do for sure.
I guess one little boy did not get that memo apparently. I remember it so well. He was a very sweet little boy and he came to school on class picture day dressed in a suit with his hair all perfectly spiked up with gel. He looked so handsome, just like a little ring bearer and many of the little girls were absolutely swooning. Unfortunately for him though, one of his classmates came up with the plan that when the photographer said to “Say Cheese,” they were going to do their goofiest face ever. I was not aware of this plan until the class picture arrived. When the class pictures were passed out the boy was clearly mortified and asked if we could do a retake of the class picture. Retakes are common, but only for individual pictures. His parents were so understanding about it and shared that a great life lesson had taken place for him of what not to do next time. They also shared about first impressions and how sadly that picture did not tell the story of who he really was, (a fun and fantastic kid) but clearly gave those who did not know him the wrong impression. The picture does not always tell the true story and that was surely the case here. Poor little guy. A hard lesson to learn for sure.
It is easy to jump to conclusions about people when we only see part of the picture. A good friend told me about a recent incident with her daughter that was a real eye opener. All of a sudden her young daughter was really interested in helping out around the house and do chores. Then only condition was she was expecting to be paid for everything she did. At first my friend thought at least her initiative was commendable, yet on further thought my friend was very annoyed by her daughter’s apparent selfishness. In exasperation she finally said “Life is not like that! You do not get paid for everything! You should just help out around here period, not just for money!” Her daughter burst into tears apologetically saying “I’m so sorry! I just wanted to save up enough money to get you something really special for Mother’s Day!” Oh great! My poor friend felt terrible.
We sometimes do not get a clear picture of who we are as well. The lens we use to look at ourselves is at times distorted and critical. I remember a very profound sermon I heard at a youth meeting one year. It was about finding our true purpose in life. The speaker spoke words I will never forget. He shared that God created a purpose first, and then created YOU to fulfill it! Never once did He do it the other way around and never once did God struggle and say “Oh great! I have no idea what to do with this one!” I was so encouraged by that and hid that seed in my heart that even at a young age I was fulfilling a deep purpose on earth for the Almighty God. A very cool thought to ponder indeed.
Every day we make judgements about others and judgements about ourselves. Many are accurate yet many may not be. A class picture tells nothing of how unique, funny, smart, creative and irreplaceable each child is. It doesn’t give a true picture of who that little group is. It is just a snapshot in time. It takes time to get to know the kids and it takes time to get to know each other.
People are worth the investment. We need each other. Relationships take time to develop but are so needed in life. We learn such cool things about each other that we would never have known had we not taken the time. We sometimes think we know someone, yet others have so much to teach us.
I read of a new pastor who wanted to see how loving and gracious his new congregation was. He went to church that morning dressed as a homeless man. He was treated terribly and asked to sit in the back even though he requested a front row seat. Time after time, the people there treated him with total disrespect as they anxiously awaited the arrival of their new pastor. When it came time to announce the new pastor and have him come on the stage, imagine the shock and feelings of disbelief when the homeless man came forward. A clever experiment taught them something. We do not always see the true picture and can be so quick to judge.
We are all guilty of this at times. We judge ourselves and others without knowing the full story. Why do we do that? We can be missing out on a wonderful friend that God has placed in our lives or we could be robbing ourselves of great opportunities. God sees a true picture of who we really are. Let’s strive to be more like Him. He sees us as His child, unique and dearly loved. He sees someone worth dying for. He sees in each one of us a precious and unique creation. I love the quote “Please be patient. God is not finished with me yet.” This is true of us all. We are a wonderful work in progress and one day if we are willing, we will see the true picture, seeing ourselves and others the way God sees us. The true picture is a beautiful one. Focus on that.
Until next time,
Mathew 10:30 But even the hairs on your head are numbered. (That’s love!)
Little Lesson Learned: Take time to invest in people and really get a true picture of who they are. We are God’s most amazing creation and we have lots to offer each other.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015