At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4 English Standard Version).
As an adult, I often struggle with the right words to say, especially in situations of grieving. I don’t know how many funerals I have attended where the only words that seem to come out of my mouth are jumbled, awkward, and wrong. Knowing this about myself, I observed something interesting about how kids deal with such situations.
A few weeks ago, in an attempt to promote a fundraiser and Christ Lutheran, our PTL set up radio interviews with some of our local radio stations. Over the course of three days, some students, a teacher, and I were to meet with different radio personnel at the radio station. As the dates for the interviews drew closer, a local tragedy occurred. If you follow the news in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area, you may know that one of our local radio station personalities was killed last week. Understandably, the radio station was shaken and working to retain some kind of normalcy in the middle of their grieving. Through some changes in scheduling, the interviews were still able to take place, but with the tragedy at the forefront of everyone’s mind, things were different. Adding to the sorrow and confusion, many television news cameras were on site at the radio station on the morning of our first interview.
In an attempt to express our condolences, some students at Christ created sympathy cards for the workers at the radio station. I am often surprised by the things that kids share at times of suffering. Sometimes I worry about whether they will say something that may be considered unsympathetic. In this case, as in most like it that I have experienced, kids surprise me with the heartfelt sympathy that they give. In this case, the students created cards that expressed sympathy far better than I ever could have. One radio personality, Brenda Layne at WSJM 94.9FM said, “I read every card, and there was such wonderful wisdom in some of them, some cards even had full bible verses, others just had maybe a comment or two here or there, but all such wonderful words from such little children.”
This all brings me back to the common theme I have written about, that our Lutheran schools do more than just academics. Our schools, led by well trained and faithful teachers, instruct students to be good stewards of their time, talents, and treasures in honor to God. They are instructed to love the Lord and their neighbor as themselves. With this as a foundation our students make a difference in the community and world sharing the love of Christ, even in something as simple as condolence cards for grieving people.