Christlike behavior is in eye of the beholder

  • Saturday, September 7, 2013

My three girls go to a private school and as part of their character development, each week of school features a different positive character trait. Teachers encourage the students to practice these behaviors in the classroom and at home.

At the end of each week, each teacher picks a child in their class who did a good job of personifying that weeks’ character trait, the names are turned into the office and on Friday, the principal reads the list of names over the PA system for the whole school.

It’s an honor for the kids, and I, for one, am a huge fan of looking for good behavior to reward children as opposed to only disciplining them when they misbehave. In my own life, kind words of encouragement have always carried so much weight, so I love that the teachers at the girls’ school are constantly watching to catch their students doing the right thing.

Last week’s character trait was being Christlike. In a Christian school that would be pretty all-encompassing, being kind to others and endeavoring to do your best. You can only imagine my joy when I received a text from a teacher at the school telling me that two of my three children were chosen as being the most “Christlike” in their class.

Now, let me just say this, to save all those itchy fingers from emailing me: I realize that probably every child in that school did something Christlike that week, and I by no means believe that my child is any more “Christlike” or better than anybody else.

The teachers do an excellent job of finding something wonderful about each child as the school year progresses and making sure that each child gets to have their moment where their name gets announced over the loudspeaker. It just so happened that two of my babies were randomly picked the same week for the same trait.

I assumed it was Aubrey and Emma, simply because Aubrey spends all of her free time reading devotionals and speaking in parables. In fact, on Aubrey’s “All About Me” poster she made for Parent’s Night at school, for her favorite thing to do, she drew a picture of herself on her knees praying.

Her goal for the school year, “Be a good friend and not leave anyone out.” My heart melted.

Emma seemed a shoo-in as well: The child is a born pleaser. In fact, when my husband woke up this morning at 6:15 a.m., Emma was already up. In addition, she was dressed in her uniform, had fixed her hair, eaten breakfast and made herself lunch.

When I rolled into the kitchen about 40 minutes later, she offered to make lunches for her sisters or dress Sadie, which is no easy task. The seams on Sadie’s socks must line up exactly so. Her hair must be the right amount of “flippy on the ends.” But nevertheless, Emma dressed her without a cross word between the two of them.

So you can imagine my surprise when my teacher friend told me that Aubrey and Sadie had been mentioned as “Most Christlike.”

“Well I’ll be,” I thought to myself.

I could see it though. Sadie smiles that Chiclet smile all day long — she has a joy for life that is catching. She is my only extrovert.

She has never met a stranger, and I could imagine her going out of her way to play and be silly with her classmates. I nodded my head. I could get it and I was proud.

Over the weekend, as expected, Sadie acted like a 4-year-old but still, Zeb and I were proud of our girls.

I went to yoga Saturday morning, as I got in my car and turned my iPhone back on, it buzzed with a series of text messages from Zeb.

While watching television Sadie asked Zeb, “Daddy, will you get me some orange juice?”

“Sure,” he said. Zeb walked to the kitchen to get her juice but got distracted doing something else.

He washed a couple of plates, talked to the other girls, and was staring at his iPhone when Sadie walked into the kitchen.

Sadie put her hands on hips and huffed, “You are supposed to be getting me orange juice. What the hell are you doing?!”

I’ll stop writing every column about Sadie when she stops being so “Christlike.”

Robin Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker.

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