Thursday, August 15, 2019

Perfect Attendance

Growing up I've always heard the term 'Experience is the best teacher.'  During those years, I didn't take that quote to heart.  When I surmised ‘teaching’ I automatically referenced it to school or books.  Sure, relatively teaching is about school and in my family we were really focused on education.  School was mandatory! I remember how we would compete to see who could achieve the most perfect attendance awards. But in this statement, the subject matter is ‘experience.’ It is the teacher in the school of life.

Those who knew me then recognized that I had a joyous, happy, and excitable attitude about everything. I was dubbed Miss Positive. I saw the glass half full, instead of half empty.  Some seemed to think that I didn’t have a worry in the world. Maybe it was because I was always there for the other person. You know the type you can count on for a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and a sounding board. And to boot, I was trustworthy and a confidante. Sounds amazing, right? That was and still is my character, but “oh the experiences” I’ve endured.  Visibly I was the pillar of strength.  Deep down I HID. But, I had an escape!

Let me give you a peek into my upbringing.
I had a STRONG single mom who took care of all six of her children. From the outside, you didn’t see the struggle. Her statement to us was “Never let’em see you sweat! Be steadfast and stand tall in what you believe.”  I understood that completely and carried it into my adulthood and family. Yes, just like the next person, I had problems but just didn’t show it. I didn’t carry everything on my sleeves. I didn't have a permanent print of a frown on my forehead. It seemed I always wanted to portray a zest for life, renowned strength, and the epitome of positivity. That was the person I wanted to exude-- to be visible to my peers.

But, deep inside
But, hidden within
But, to only my best friend
But, my bad experiences
But, to the only One
whom I can depend
But God
The key that unlocks the door
to my escape-
He is my refuge

I said all of that to relay this message. As our children and grandchildren return to school and classroom settings, we know that peer pressure will be very impactful. But keep in mind that even the bad experiences will help to mold and make them into who they will someday become. Of utmost importance is endurance and how they handle the pressure. Admit it. Life as some of us knew it, is quite different now. And like us, they must and will go through things we cannot shield them from or put a band-aid on. Yes, school and perfect attendance are important, but life experiences will be the ultimate lessons. So teach them something they cannot grasp at school. Teach them Jesus! He has perfect attendance. 

PJ Payne

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