I told a bus driver friend of mine the famous old politically incorrect joke about the lady who took her child onto the bus one day. They sat beside a guy who said, “That is the homeliest child I have ever seen.” She yelled, “Bus driver! This man insulted me. Do something.” The driver stopped the bus and had the man apologize. Then he said to the lady, “I’m sorry ma’am. Here’s a banana for your monkey.”
If you have anything to do with educating the next generation, remember three things:
- If you think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito. Small things make a huge difference. A single letter can change the movie Star Wars into Sitar Wars. If a single letter can make a huge difference, how much more can you? When we simply listen to or encourage a child, we show that they are valued, that they are loved by God.
- Go looking for the good. When those you work with drive you up the wall, remember two secrets from the book of Proverbs: a soft answer turns away wrath, and the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. At 16, Eddie bought a camera and snapped 50 photos. Only one turned out—a portrait of his sister at the piano. Eddie’s mother insisted that this one picture was so beautiful, the 49 failures didn’t matter. Her encouragement convinced him to keep snapping. Edward Steichen almost gave up the day he shot his first picture but went on to become one of the world’s most renowned photographers. The vision to spot excellence in the midst of failure is a heavenly gift each of us can use.
- Play to an audience of one. In the end, we aren’t here to impress others but to live faithful, thankful lives devoted to the God who loves us and gives us value and purpose. My bus driver friend tells me that each child coming onto her bus is greeted and later prayed for by name each day. That’s a purpose-driven bus driver who is spreading joy.
May we love and care for those who call our number, enter our office, eat our lunch, or climb onto our bus today. Regardless of how good looking they are.
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