Madelyn and I enter their world almost every Friday at Battle Creek Elementary. The staff know me as Tiffany’s mom. The students know me as their teacher’s mom. They all know Madelyn and greet her with enthusiasm. Both Madelyn and I know them as a valued part of our life.
This past Friday, we were in and out before school began, leaving bakery fresh Christmas cookies and hot coffee behind. The staff were in the midst of getting ready to begin their day with an assembly, so, Madelyn and I spoke to several of them on our way out the door. I’ve known quite a few of the staff for years, some of them from Pringle Elementary where Tiffany served for 8 years. Many of them have been very present in our life, joining with our faith community to help us in our time of tragedy when Tiffany’s daughter, Lucy Mae, died. They not only reached out to Tiffany and Drew, but to all of us. They gave us comfort in our sorrow, providing meals, sending cards, calling, texting, and emailing. They were light in a time of darkness. And. They are my heroes. I count each moment with them as a gift to my life.
Yet. As we conversed, laughing and wishing one another a great Christmas, the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut had already occurred. In just moments, unthinkable evil and unimaginable heroism intersected.
While many people are weighing in with their opinions of what needs to happen, there’s a vital lesson to be learned: We need one another. I believe we need to be more intentional about building community . . . connecting with others . . . where we live, work, and spend our time.
I’ve seen it being taught to the children in my daughter’s class. Their day begins with a morning meeting on the carpet. They look at each other in the eye, shake hands, use each others names and say: “Make it a great day.” I’ve seen them working together on projects, cheering each other on when something is accomplished. And. I see it happening all around the school, kids collaborating, working together, making great things happen in the Battle Creek Elementary Community.
At the end of the day, we’re responsible for teaching the next generation the value of one another. We’ve become too isolated, sitting behind our electronic devices, stressed by our own circumstances, responsibilities, and packed schedules, missing out on the gift of sharing life with one another.
It begins with the openness to change, allowing others into our life. And. It won’t happen. Unless. We begin. It’s as simple as intentionally being salt and light to one another.
We need to pay attention to these words, defining what we can be to one another: “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:12-14, NLT).
As salt, we bring flavor to the world around us. As light, we dissipate the power of darkness in this world. I’ve experienced the power of individuals being salt and light as a pastor in my faith community and as a mom in the educational community. And. I see it in Newtown–as they’ve come together as a community and as communities across the nation have united with them. It’s not only a crucial part of Newton’s healing but of making a change in our society. When communities converge, blessing one another, as we’ve seen in Newtown, there’s strength which can only be replicated by relationship. There are lessons to learn across this nation and world. We need one another. And. It begins with you and I intentionally being salt and light wherever we are, connecting and uniting with one another, teaching the next generation the value of community.
Our homework is simple:
- Reach out to someone.
- Remember you are essential in this world, part of a community.
- Intentionally be salt and light to one another.
- Make it a great day.
Learning to Kickstart the day from the lesson learned as a teacher’s mom,
(Written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)