A Message to My Students, From: Mr. Richard Henkle, Middle School English Teacher
I am just enough of a handy man that I can (mostly) fix a leak in my kitchen sink, but not enough of one that I have (or could even name) three types of power saws sitting in my garage. In fact, I don’t even have a garage. But, one Saturday morning, I did have a leaky sink. Upon dismantling the plumbing, I found that one of the pipe fittings had rusted and would need to be replaced. As I put my shoes on to go to Home Depot for a replacement, my eldest son (who was two at the time), asked if he could go with me. Seizing the opportunity for some father-son bonding, I agreed. We set out to find the replacement piece for the tangle of pipes under the kitchen counter.
A display of flowers had been set up by the entrance, and my son paused to smell them as we passed. His tone of excitement in telling me about the begonias and pansies abruptly changed to panic. He was surprised to find that the innocuous-looking white brick exterior of Home Depot housed a veritable mass of scary-looking tools, appliances, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and outdoor furniture. And the ceiling! Towering above him, each aisle housed so much stuff – so high up. He could hardly fathom it. He immediately grabbed for my leg. “Daddy. Daddy!”
I knelt to see what he needed, recognized the fear in his eyes, and realized the situation seemed overwhelming. I picked him up, put him on my shoulders, and his worry ceased. Mounted firmly atop his father, he started pointing out the items that no longer seemed so big and scary. “Shovel! Wheel barrow! Grill! Fans!” Paralyzing fear turned to excitement and discovery once he knew his daddy was there to take care of him.
Our trip to Home Depot served as a reminder of how we should approach life. On our own, we can become intimidated, bogged down, scared, and overwhelmed. But, we weren't made to do life alone. We have one another, and we have a Heavenly Father who is always with us. When we rely on Him, the things that once seemed overwhelming become opportunities for learning.
We are moving into the busy Christmas season, which accompanied by growing pressures on all sides for our students - pressure to complete assignments on time and prepare for concerts, church events, parties, shopping, or travel. Students, as you navigate these activities, I encourage you to take time to rest on the shoulders of your Heavenly Father. My son offered us a good analogy and reminder that, without a Heavenly Father, life can be intimidating. May He be your source and strength this Christmas and throughout the year.