Highlands Blog: The Mom & Her Kids Who Patiently Waited
by Mrs. Jennifer Nicholson
Mornings are busy. I’m a mom of three, and admittedly sometimes running a few minutes late. As I was pulling onto our campus one day last year, I saw a lady walking on the sidewalk, pushing a stroller, with two school-age children trying to keep up beside her. It wasn’t the first time I had seen them out there. I imagine they were walking to another school or to the bus stop.
This particular morning, I noticed that the mom and her family stopped and patiently waited as car after car exited our campus. Immediately a phrase of Scripture came to mind: preferring one another. As a child, I memorized God’s Word in the King James Version, and so it’s usually the first thing that pops into my head. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. – Romans 12:10 -11
In that moment, many thoughts and questions quickly flashed through my mind. Was the bright sun causing people not to see her? Were the people leaving in a hurry, running late for work or another school drop off? Had the lady waved cars past her, preferring them over herself? Do I prefer others above myself? Am I teaching my children to prefer others above themselves?
These verses in Romans are filled with so much wisdom I didn’t fully grasp when I memorized them in 4th or 5th grade, but I’m so grateful God’s Word is alive and can be fresh and relevant to our daily lives as we read or recall it! Take a look at how some other versions translate these words:
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (English Standard Version).
Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant (The Message).
So now to answer the question, “How?” How do I prefer others? How can I outdo others in showing honor? How can I practice playing second fiddle? In addition, as a parent, how can I teach, model, and begin to see the fruit of this characteristic in my children as they follow my example?
A dozen ways I’m working on preferring others:
*I can meet the needs of my children and my spouse at home before I take care of myself.
*I can take a deep breath while I’m driving and let someone pull out, cross the street, or take the closer parking spot.
*I can let the person who got to the store checkout at the same time as me, or with fewer items, go in front of me.
*I can buy a coffee or a tea for a friend, instead of just for myself.
*I can do more than I am asked or required (at work, church, in my neighborhood, with extended family) without drawing attention to my sacrifice.
*I can be honest with my kids when I fail to put others before myself.
*I can pray for opportunities to put others first each day.
*I can put down my phone and play with my kids, even when I just want a little time to unwind.
*I can pick up the phone and make a call, even when a text message would have been faster.
*I can pause and patiently wait for the real answer when I ask a friend how she is doing, and she quickly replies, “Oh, I’m good.”
*I can offer to do an actual thing (bring a meal, run an errand, watch kids) for a friend or family member, knowing they probably won’t ask for anything if I just say, “Let me know if you need help.”
*I can refer to people I interact with throughout my day by their name, even if I have to read a name tag or ask their name…again.
My challenge to you is the same as I’m working on myself. Find at least one way, every day, for the next week to practice preferring one another. The following week, challenge your kids to join you. The week after that, ask your spouse or a friend to join you in doing these “little things” that can make such a huge impact!. As with anything new, it can be hard to get started, but soon it will be such a habit that people around you may start to notice!
Mrs. Jennifer Nicholson, Highlands 2nd grade teacher and our blogger of the week, would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on preferring one another in our families, workplace, and community. You can find her around Highlands and Grace all the time with her students and children, or respond to her at [email protected]