We toss markers and colored pencils and one lone backpack into the cart at Wal-Mart and the smallest one asks why we need a backpack.
“No one in our home goes to school,” she says. “We stay home.”
I grab crayons and 4 folders and check my list again. “These are for a kid at Pope Elementary. You know, the school where the kids from our neighborhood go to school.”
“The scary one?” she asks.
“It’s not scary,” I say. But it is, I think to myself. That’s why you won’t send them to school.
I bob and weave up and down the aisles and I’m distracted by the crowd and sagging pants. Kids are climbing in and out of buggies and half the mamas are on their phones.
I try not to make eye contact as I excuse myself between 2 women still in slippers and curlers, but they don’t move. They just stand there. So I retreat, back to my cart.
And I swallow anger and resentment and I know my kids will never go to school with the likes of these people.
For days now, I’ve been forced to deal with the harsh realities of my place here. I’ve come face to face with sin and depravity and poverty in both the physical and spiritual senses, and if I’m honest, I’m fighting mad.
I’ve thought about the $40 we spent on school supplies for some child who will more than likely never use half of them, let alone finish school. I’ve imagined broken pencils and lost homework, ripped folders and crushed flash drives.
And I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the teachers who spend more than 40 hours a week in a classroom full of kids, dealing with parents who won’t even roll out of bed to come to a teacher/parent conference or help their kids be the best little people that they can be.
Y’all, this is my city’s reality. I’m not stretching the truth or projecting a prejudice because sin no knows skin color or economic status. And neither does just plain sorry. (I’m committed to being honest here, so I won’t mince my words.)
But yesterday, as I worked on lesson plans for my tribe, I couldn’t help but wonder what our small world would look like, if every single Christian family chose to arm their children with Truth, trust Jesus with their children, and then enroll them in public school.
What if we chose to not hide our Light behind safe walls and in our cozy homes?
What if we saw our children as little world changers instead of little people to keep safe?
What if, instead of being fighting mad in an aisle at Wal-Mart we became parents who fought for the good of our city by championing our schools and teachers AND their students?
What if we trusted Jesus enough to send our little people into a battle that has already been won, and then waited for God to build His kingdom?
For His is the only one that will last.
Today, I’m linking with Lisa-Jo for her 5 Minute Friday. The prompt was Last and since this was the story I wanted to tell today, I had to spend 11 minutes to make it work with the prompt!! So yeah, I cheated. But, it’s true to my voice and my commitment to telling the whole story here. Love this community of writers and I love the way they use their places of writing as a platform to lift others up, and not a podium for self-promotion. If you blog, I invite you to join us! If not, please jump over and read some other great stories. You’ll be glad you did.