Kids are often great mirrors. The type of mirror that magnifies every nook and crannie on one's face. The mirror the highlights the flaws that you didn’t see before.
This week at kids fun night I had one of those God inspired, kid driven mirror experiences. It just so happens that the theme for kids fun night this year is community. During the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade night the kids were giving a game to play. It was simple, count as high as you can as a group. The only rule was only one person can talk at a time and if two or more people talked at one time the counting started all over. As one can imagine the kids started shouting out numbers like popcorn bursting out of hot oil. At some point two louder voices started counting on their own until a third loud party interrupted and we had to start again. At this point there was a suggestion that we go in a circle. That we each say our number after the person next to us. There was consensus that this plan would work and was the most likely to get us counting higher.
They started out 1, 2, 3, and then a pause. One little girl needed a second to think through what she was suppose to do. But impatiently another child further down the circle shouts 4 at the same time. We have to start again. A collective “ugh” is heard. Tears burst out of the little girl who was skipped over and the other child claims, “What there was no one talking.” The teacher ask what should we do if there is a pause from one person in our community, someone who needs a second to think. A child shouts, “Kick them out!” My heart sank at the reality of this answer. “No, no, no,” other children cry “We’ll wait.” The teacher affirms that we should wait for the person. Pointing out when we don’t wait we hurt others causing damage to the person and the community. At this point the little girl was still very teary and had stepped out of the circle, out of the community, and wasn’t able to rejoin. How often does our impatience, need for comfort, desire to complete a task or difference in understanding get in the way of supporting and loving one another. It was decided to start again. 1, 2, 3, 4,5...34. We made it around the circle each person doing their part to listen, speak when they were suppose to and we were kind to those next to us, but without a beautiful part of our community.
This for me so clearly illustrates how we should be living in community. When someone disagrees with us or needs a moment to think, do we by pass them? Do we kick them out for not acting fast enough? Do we watch as people tearfully remove themselves from community because they were not heard? I would urge us to wait patiently, to listen and speak carefully, to be kind and generous. To do our part and stay in the circle.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.