Yesterday was Columbus day, which in itself could probably be a post of its own. But to public school students across Escondido, this meant a day off of school. I am not always the greatest at remembering the days that students have off school and I am also not the greatest at taking advantage of the hang out space that is possible on such days. However, yesterday I was ahead of the curve and got to spend time with 3 of my high school guys.
Now, if you have hung out with High School guys in the last ten years, or really at all, you will know the kind of joking and language that is commonplace. I have preached the message for the last 2 years with my students that I want them to be who they are, everywhere, and not just curbing actions to fit certain situations or expectations. The example is usually regarding language. Now, I admit that I am not someone who is pure in his speech. Curse words come off my lips every now and then, but with my high school students, I notice that this type of language seems to have replaced EVERYTHING they have learned in their English classes. It is everywhere. And it was present yesterday too. And these are my guys who have grown up in the church.
When those words were spoken, I noticed it but didn't react and just kind of let it fly. I don't want to be known as the guy who majors on the minors, and in the grand scheme of things, I think language is pretty minor. And here is why:
Thirty minutes into our time together, the boys wanted to go to In N Out for round two of carboloading. As we were pulling into the parking lot we passed a man who had a cardboard sign, looked rather dirty and had a huge beard. His sign said "Anything Helps". I drove right by, and we entered into the restaurant. The boys ordered and I found a seat as I didn't need more food on top of my already hearty helping of Yogurtland. Eventually the boy's food came. We were sitting enjoying conversation when another number was called. One of my guys got up and I said to myself, "More food? You have already eaten so much!" But he didn't bring that food back to the table, but instead took that double-double and fries out to the man with the sign.
I tried to hide my excitement. I was so proud of this young man for making such a huge, unsolicited choice to help some one who needed it. But this was the same kid who was using the poor language earlier on in the afternoon. But he was demonstrating his grasp of one the majors! He was thinking outside himself! It was an intriguing juxtaposition and demonstrated the tension that parents, teachers and youth workers have when it comes to the kinds of choices our students make.
Should we continue to harp and try to control every little thing or pray and hope for the major choices to be right? I for one will stand for those major choices to be right and pray that our actions will always speak louder than our words. That our actions will shout that we intend to have a positive impact on this world and that we are doing so in the name of Christ.