Anyways, for some reason, I was thinking about Muffin and this one particular Friday... Muff was teamed up with George (name changed) for math buddies. George was having a bad day and he was grumpy, and he took out his grump-ness on Muffin. Meaning, he did not pet her very nicely, and pushed her a bit too hard when her paw touched his math book, (She obviously was trying to point something out to him!). George being "ruff" with our class-pup did not go over too well with me, or the rest of the students. In an even voice I said to George, "You may choose to be kind to your math buddy, or I will choose a new math buddy for you." George, through his unchanged behaviour, chose for me to pick a new buddy. His new buddy was ME, the teacher, and Muffin moved on to other buddies.
Friday was pizza day at school. Kids sat at their desks savoring yummy, greasy, cheesy, pizza, begging and tempting Muffin with bites, to sit by them. It was a huge honor to have the Muffster sit by your desk, ohmy! Muff wandered through the isles of nose-high desks sniffing the delightful lunchtime smells that floated through the air. Then, to our surprise, she settled by George. GEORGE?
I did not have teacher of the year thoughts at that moment. Honestly, I was still a bit miffed with George. And, the class was not happy Muffin chose George for her lunchtime friend either. Watching this scene unfold, I began to hear 3rd grade whisper comments, those comments that teachers aren't supposed to hear, but always do~
...why's she sitting by him?
...he was mean.
...he doesn't deserve....
...sit by me Muffin, not him..
I cleared my throat, gave the teacher look, and the comments ceased. Truth be told, when I gave the look, I was thinking exactly what they were saying. My kids shushed, went back to munching pizza and chatting quietly about 3rd grade stuff. I kept my eyes on George and The Muffster.
She sat by his desk, gently looking at him, then layed her head on his lap. George rested his little hand on her head. His brown eyes got teary, and then he leaned over, sort of resting his head on hers, and whispered something in her ear. She sat quietly, he sat quietly. And then my eyes got full, and my heart got tender. After a bit, George sat up, tore a piece of pizza (the greasiest bite, I think), and gave it to Muff. All was well in the world.
Lunch was over, the pizza was gone, the desks were cleared, and Muffin had once again cleaned out the crusts from the trash can---a Friday ritual. I sat perched on my stool, Muff lay snoozing under my desk, and the students eagerly awaited read-aloud-time. I kept the book closed on my lap, and looked out at my dazzling 3rd graders, and gently said, "I almost missed a God moment today. Anyone have an idea how God used Muffin to teach me about His love?"
Quiet filled the room. Little heads looked down, tiny fingers traced designs on wooden desks. And then....
A few hands went up.
"I think when Muffin sat by George for pizza." one brave student said.
They saw it too ~~ and the discussion began to flow.
I love moments like these.
Moments you could never plan, but God brings. Teachable moments, I like to call them. Teachable Moments can be life changing ~ when we have ears to hear and eyes to see.
This Moment with Muffin, and George, it reminds of a familiar story. A son had royally messed up everything, I mean everything, but decided to return home to Dad, the one he had hurt the most. Before the son could even lift his head or eek out an apology, Dad ran to him, scooping him up into the biggest bear hug ever recorded in history. He just poured the love on his boy, forever healing the son's broken and shame-filled heart.
By the way, George had a much better afternoon. He was kinder. Softer. Well, we all were.
|Muffin with a few of her favorite kids.|
(George, though one of Muff's favorites, is not in this pic, in case you were wondering!)