Without even opening my eyes, all tangled up in my down comforter, I woke up with a couple thoughts.
First, I thought about how, a day from now I was going to be standing in front of my new class, tackling the job of getting to know their names. And then I immediately thought of how some of them don’t think of themselves in terms of their names. (Yes, all this before I even opened my eyes:)
Some kids think their nickname is: "Loser", "A**hole", "Shut up", or "Fool". Others think their nickname is: "Obnoxious", "Loud", "Stupid" or "Slow". Still others respond to: "Fatso", "Tubby", "Stringbean", or "Ugly".
What response do you think I would get if I were to bring this up in my class? Do you think my kids would sit confidently in their seats, knowing that I’m not talking to them? Or would only a few of them do that? Would some of them start staring at the board behind me, envisioning the moment someone named them with one of those nicknames? How about the kid that would begin to look down at his desk, thinking I’d be talking to him…and him only? Or what about the kid who would then, out of fear that I was going to call him out on his nickname, point to the chubbiest kid in the class and yell out, "Fatso! She’s talking about you!" Everyone would laugh because it would take the pressure off of them for the moment.
What if, somehow through the course of these next ten months, transformational change could take place in my kids’ lives?…so much to the point that their names were changed?
I think of how God changed Saul to Paul, Abram to Abraham, Saraii to Sarah, Kim to Kimpossible:)…there are so many more examples in the Bible of when names were changed because of either what God had done in/through them, or because of what He was promising to do in/through them. Listed here are a few examples.
God can even change my name from "One-who-tries-to-solve-everyone’s-problems-all-the-time" to "One-who-releases-others-issues-to-Jesus" :0) Oh, I pray for that change to occur! I want to see my kids who are afraid to read aloud in class to be known as excellent readers (aloud). I want to see my kids who hate writing to be known as the best in the school! I want to see my kids who barely pass each year in math to show deep understanding of math concepts.
Oh, me and my lofty goals…:) I suppose my goals are a bit much, compared to some of what I’ve experienced in the past. But, as Nick from My Big Fat Greek Wedding said to Tulah, "Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a part of who you will become." Hopefully I can communicate to my kids that who they are now will be a part of who they’ll become…in a good way, even if it’s negative right now. A kid that isn’t much of a reader right now that can read at grade level in May should be able to say, "I couldn’t read much in September, but look at how I’ve grown! Now I’m a Fantastic Reader!"
In conclusion (this is how a 4th grader ends his essays;), I believe that I heard God’s voice on this one this morning. No, it wasn’t audible, but it made my heart beat faster, the more I thought about seeing kids’ names changed. God’s changed names with the snap of a finger, but I’ve got TEN MONTHS…GO! 🙂