Today’s story seed is The Correct Answer.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.
Listen to today’s story seed. Fifth grade can be a wonderful year of school for many children, but it wasn’t for Roberta. She was a new kid at her school and didn’t yet have friends.
When the teacher asked, “What city is the capital of New Mexico?”
A hand shot up from the girl sitting next to Roberta. She answered, “Albuquerque.”
“No,” said their teacher. “Who knows the correct answer?”
Slowly Roberta raised her hand. It was the only hand to go up. “Santa Fe,” she said timidly.
“That is correct,” the teacher said. “What a smart young lady you are.” Roberta smiled and the teacher smiled back. The whole class seemed to notice, but especially Cyndi, the girl who had answered incorrectly.
It was true; Roberta was a smart young lady. Time after time, she was the one who knew the right answer when the teacher asked a question. She was often first to finish her math worksheets.
When the teacher designated Roberta to be the class helper to pass out papers, her fate was sealed. Cyndi and the other girls refused to have lunch with Roberta or to let her play with them at recess. One frigid winter’s day, they locked Roberta out of school as the class came in from recess. Cyndi told Roberta to go get the ball that was left on the playground, and when she came back with the ball, the door was locked.
Roberta had to trudge through the snow on the long walk around the school to get to the front door and be let inside. While she was out, the girls laughed and Cyndi said, “I hope she freezes.”
Later that year, Roberta led the girls as they defeated the boys in a spelling bee contest. The prize was a pizza, and the girls fixed Roberta’s plate with the smallest piece of pizza.
When the year finished, Roberta still had no friends. Cyndi made sure of that.
You may well remember situations like this from your grade-school experiences. Who’s in the in-group and who’s not? Who’s the teacher’s pet? Ruthless kids who exclude the people they don’t like?
Aren’t we glad we have grown out of that? Except, of course, many of us haven’t. Jealousy, envy, pettiness, distrust, revenge—sometimes we have days where this is all we think about.
We find ourselves not liking people and everything they do bothers us. It’s not our fault. Those people are rude, or self-serving, or deceitful, or always have to have the spotlight shining on them.
In actuality, those people may be all those things, or they may not. It is not our job to fix them. Our job is to work with God to be the best person we can be. Our job this Lent is to draw closer to God.
God invites us to focus our attention on ourself, so that when we do reach out to others, it is not to place blame or ridicule; it’s to be kind, caring, and forgiving. That’s always the correct answer.
Now let’s take 30 seconds to water the seed…
What’s a lesson you learned in grade school that can help you today?