The next morning the children that were going to scripture school all showed up on time. Ms. Amazing handed out the necklaces to hang around the children’s neck, making sure every child had one they had not worn previously.
“Children,” she said, “Your classroom teacher asked me to teach on one of the words in Philippians 4:8 that we read the other day. The one that tells us what to think on. However one of the neat things about scriptures, is that there are many different ways we can understand them. Different ways they can be applied. That particular scripture says to think on things that are honorable. Does anyone know what that word means?”
A Little Boy raised his hand. “yes?” He said, “I think it means to do things right.” She said, “you have that half right. Does anyone else want to try and guess?” Nobody did. “It means to keep your word. It means to do what you say you’re going to do. Honor means respect. When you respect your parents, that means you obey them and you do what they say, because you love them. That is also honoring them. It means to hold in high esteem. The word esteem means to think of people in good ways and to act toward people in respectful ways. That means you don’t talk about them behind their back, you don’t talk mean to them.
When you are at home and you respect your parents, what does that mean?” One of the children raised their hand and said, “teacher, I know what that means.” The teacher said “what honey?” The Little Girl with brown hair said, “it means that I love my mommy and my Daddy, and when they tell me to do something I do it.”
The teacher said “very good. That is also what it means. That is also obedience. Can anyone think back over the last couple days and think of when maybe they didn’t honor someone?” They all sat there thinking, and nobody raised their hand. The teacher said, “well your teacher told me that something was going on with the hearts in the classroom. Do you remember what The Stranger told you?” Some of them nodded their heads.
The teacher went on, “The Stranger said that the words that we use, if they’re bad words, that part of the heart will go dark until we ask the other person that we hurt to forgive us and we say we’re sorry. Also if we don’t treat each other nicely, or right, part of the heart will go dark. Do you remember now?” They all nodded yes.
“Apparently something happened yesterday that caused a great disturbance with the hearts. I think we should close the lesson for now and go into the classroom and see what happened.” Some of the kids were looking at her with wide eyes, afraid. Others, mostly the boys, were like “yeah let’s go!”
The teacher said “children, gather up your things, put them all in your backpacks and let’s go to the classroom. Line up single-file please. So they got their things together, lined up single file and the teacher led them to the classroom. When each child entered the classroom their eyes went immediately over to the counter where the hearts were. There were gasps, children were starting to cry.
Many of the hearts had dark speckles on them and what looked like tears that had gotten hard and didn’t drip all the way down. Tears that were on the outside of the hearts. No child knew what was going on. Their teacher said, “children I want you to put your backpacks and lunch boxes away and take your seats.” You could hear sniffles as the children did what they were told. They went and sat down at their desks. All eyes were on their teacher.
“Children, the assistant teacher taught you about honor, correct?” They nodded their heads yes. “Did you understand that honor means to do what you said you’re going to do? If you say to someone that you’re going to go to their birthday party, then you go right?” They nodded their heads yes. If you tell your mother you are going to come straight home from school, then that’s what you do, because you love her, you respect her and you’re not only obedient but you’re honoring her wishes. Do you understand that?”
They nodded their heads yes. One of the children said “yes Ms. Amazing taught us that this morning.” “It has come to my attention that several of you said that you would be at someone’s house yesterday and no one showed up.” The Little Girl shrunk in her chair wondering how the teacher knew. The hearts started dripping. One of the children cried out “look at the hearts!”
“That is why the hearts are the way they are. We all know that things come up and we all forget things sometimes and, things just happen. However when you tell someone that you’re going to go somewhere, or be somewhere, or do something, then you are giving someone your word. In some places a man or a woman would shake another person’s hand over an agreement and that would be binding. When someone says they’re going to do something, that’s the same thing as giving your word. The only thing that anyone has to their name is their honor. If you give your word to someone, if you tell someone you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, then you have hurt that person. Perhaps they spent money they wouldn’t normally spend, perhaps they stayed home when they could have gone out, perhaps they went to extra trouble just to make sure that when you got to wherever you were supposed to be, it would be pleasant for you.
It’s very important children, to keep your word. It’s very important to honor each other.” “Teacher I don’t understand how you honor someone else”, said one of the children. The teacher explained, “you know how you feel good when your Mommy or Daddy says they’re going to take you for ice cream? And they do?” They nodded.
That’s called giving your word. Following through, doing what you say you’re going to do, is honoring your word and the person you gave it to. When you do something for yourself, you’re honoring yourself. When you take care of your body, like when you’re running around outside at recess; when you go to scripture school, you’re honoring your spirit. You are taking care of those things that are important to you. That is honor.
If you say you’re going to do something, like go to someone’s house after school, then you don’t show up and you don’t call, that is not honoring that person. If you don’t let that person know that you won’t be coming, then that is not honoring that other person. It’s not showing any regard for their feelings, or for the effort they went to. It also reflects on you, as you can see by the hearts of those that didn’t do what they said they would do. It made someone unhappy. You need to honor your friends and you need to honor your word. We will continue to teach on this throughout the school year, however for right now, I think it would be helpful if we stood up and got in a circle and held hands.
I would like the Little Girl to go get her heart. Will you do that honey? She looked down at the ground and nodded. She was mortified that the teacher knew and now everybody else knew. Her face was red with embarrassment. Her heart had begun dripping again as had the others. She went and got her heart, stretching out her hand to see which one was hers. It lit up and she took it down from the shelf. The teacher said “Come on back here to the circle please.” Then she said “each of the others who said that they would go to her house after school, I want you to go get your hearts.”
They all went over to the counter and stretched out their hands to find their heart, then brought it back over to the circle. The rest of us are going to stand in a circle and I want all of you to be in the middle of the circle. The teacher went and got a round table and put it in the middle of the circle. I want you all to put your hearts on this table. They did.
Now I want you all to stand around the table in a circle. I want all the children in the room to bow your heads and in your heart, not saying it out loud, I want you to think about how it would feel to you if someone said they would come to your house and they didn’t show up. Everyone closed their eyes and bowed their heads. Some of them started sniffling. The teacher said, open your eyes and look at the hearts. They opened their eyes. The tears had stopped dripping.
“Now those who did not honor their word, I want you to say whatever is in your heart to the Little Girl.” The Little Boy spoke up first. He looked at her and he said with tears in his eyes, “I’m sorry I didn’t come over like I said I would. The Stranger was at my house and I forgot. I don’t want you to feel like I forgot you, because you’re my friend and I love you. I didn’t forget you, I forgot what I said. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry that I hurt you and I’m sorry that I didn’t keep my word. Will you forgive me?”
The Little Girl had tears running down her face. She looked at him and nodded her head yes. He went over and gave her a hug. When he turned around, he saw his heart on the table and there were no dark spots, no tears. He looked at her heart and some of the tears were gone from it.
Each of the other boys said they were sorry for not coming over; they were sorry that they hurt her and they asked for forgiveness. Which of course she gave. Each time a boy said he was sorry to her, his heart would be completely back to normal. Until the last boy said his apologies then all the hearts were back to normal.
“Children, I’m very proud of you. You all did so well. This is going to happen many, many times in your life. We all forget that we said something to someone, we all run late and aren’t on time, we all make mistakes. The best way to make things better, is to immediately ask the person to forgive you, let them know that you’re sorry. That you recognize what you did and that you’re sorry. That will smooth things over almost every time. Then everyone will feel better. Just remember to honor each other and to keep your word. Try to not say that you’ll be somewhere when you don’t know what’s going on at home.
Learn to think before you speak. If you start learning that now, by the time you’re older you will be far ahead of most other people. Everything we all do in life touches something else or someone else. When you don’t honor the people you are around, then it has a domino effect. It will fall down and touch something and then something else goes out of whack. I know some of these concepts you children do not know, but you will learn them as time goes on.”
The Little Boy listened to her words carefully. So did the Little Girl. The Little Boy thought in his heart, ‘I’m going to do that, I’m going to learn this and I’m going to grow up and I’m going to be a good person. And I’m going to be ahead of other people and then maybe I can help them too.”
The Little Girl said out loud, “Teacher? I’m going to learn. I want to learn how to talk and how to think better. I want to learn the things that I need to learn in order to be a well-adjusted person when I grow up.”
The teacher smiled, and said “well adjusted? You know what that word means?” The Little Girl said “yes, I do, my Mama told me what it was last night. And she also told me about perspective. And I want to learn these things, and I want to be well-adjusted when I grow up.” The teacher replied, “Honey, with that attitude you will be.”