JennieGScott.com - Page 17 of 18 - Enjoying the Journey
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09.10.2013

At first I didn't understand her question, her face looking at me expectantly from around her computer's monitor."What state is Germany in?"I'm sure my eyebrow lifted as I contemplated what she meant. State? Germany?It suddenly dawned on me that she wanted to know where in the United States Germany was. Germany, the country, in the United States.Her neighbor looked at me, too. She had already asked him, and he wasn't sure either.I gently (I think - I tried to be gentle) explained that Germany is its own country and that it is located on a separate continent from the United States.I write this not as an indictment of this particular student (or her neighbor) or in a mocking sort of way, but rather as a very serious, contemplative question that must be posed in every educator's mind.What in the world does this mean?When two students who have made it to high school do not know that Germany is a country, we must take this seriously. If they do not know where Germany is or that it is a nation, they must not understand exactly what happened in the Holocaust or the implications of that event either. (Am I right? Is...

15.09.2013

I wore my running shoes to church today. Some of you are saying, “So what?” If so, you might be among the throngs who now wear jeans and t-shirts to church on Sundays and don’t think twice about it. But for others, wearing running shoes and “street clothes” is a huge no-no, an offense that would bring down the wrath of the powers-that-be in your church.Please don’t assume that I’m passing any judgment here, because that’s the last thing I want to do. I’ve been a member of both camps.When I was a teenager, a woman I loved dearly told me that we have to dress up for church because Jesus wants our best. (In full disclosure, the topic came up because she was gossiping Sunday afternoon about the attire of someone who had not dressed up Sunday morning. Just so you know.) Naïve and respectful, I thought she must be right. After all, she was older than I was and had been serving in the church since before I was born. Years later, I realized that she might have just missed the whole message of the gospel. Jesus’ gospel, anyway. Some churches have their own. You see, Jesus has...

23.08.2013

“You’re fat.”“You’re worthless.”“You’ll end up in jail just like your father.”This week my freshmen and I talked about the power of words for both good and evil, and I asked them to respond to the quote, “Words break no bones, but they do break hearts.” And, let me tell you, there are some 15 year olds out there with broken hearts.I expected my kids to have some experience with word-wounds, but I had not anticipated the depth of what they would share. They wrote of parents constantly belittling them and peers teasing mercilessly. They wrote of hearing that they are good for nothing and have no hope for a bright future. They wrote of words they had said themselves and regretted instantly… They wrote, and my heart ached.I remember being their age and in their shoes, and I remember words from those days. I remember words and looks and rebuffs and sideways glances, and I remember the tears I shed. But even now, decades removed, I am hurt by those very same things. Your heart doesn’t have to be young to be tender, and you don’t have to be in school to be rejected. We all know the power that...

19.08.2013

I am a teacher, and tonight – the night before school starts back – the honest to goodness truth is that right now I could not care less about how much English literature my students learn from me this year. After an encounter today with someone who just wasn’t very nice, it occurred to me that I would rather every student fail the End of Course exam if, in exchange, they could learn to be good people who do everything in their power to make this world better. I know far too many well-educated people who only make this world more difficult for others and leave hurt in their wake. What good is it to know lots of information if you don’t know how to love? Tonight, my lessons are planned and tomorrow I will teach English, but I will fail as a person and disciple of Jesus if I forget what really matters. So students, this is what I reallywant you to know.I want you to know that what you do and say to others really matters. I can remember something unkind said to me over 20 years ago, and I still have a scar from the wounds of his words....

12.08.2013

I glanced in the rearview mirror today, and her shining eyes in the very back seat brought a lump into my throat.She is six now, heading to 1st grade, and I don’t know where the time went. I swear it was just yesterday that I brought her home in a preemie outfit that swallowed her whole. In the seat in front of her, big brother sits, his face losing baby fat as fast as he’s losing baby teeth. They are both big kids now, riding big kid bikes and reading chapter books, leaving me to shake my head and ask the age-old question, “Where did the time go?”It’s just one of the things no one can make you understand about being a parent.They can’t explain to you that seeing your wrinkly, red newborn for the first time will make your heart feel as if it will explode from the love that suddenly appears. They don’t tell you that the second time is just like the first.They can’t tell you that you will panic the first time they sleep through the night, though you begged for it for weeks (or months – they don’t tell you that either).No one tells you...

09.08.2013

It’s almost here, fellow teachers.    Like it or not, we will wake up Monday morning much earlier than our summer sleep schedules are accustomed to, and we will walk back into the buildings we simultaneously love and fear. The newly waxed floors will look foreign without any tossed away papers and all used-up pencils, and the bare bulletin boards will mock us as we remember the cute ideas we saw on Pinterest.   We will make multiple trips from the car to our rooms, carrying bags filled with the magic we are convinced will make this year the best. We will stand surveying our rooms, hands on hips, as we envision a space that inspires and welcomes.   The plans will have to wait, though, as we sit through multiple meetings where we team-build and common-core learn and technology policy question… And don’t forget lunch-plans make, as this is the week – the only week – where we are allowed to leave for the sacred lunch.   Our non-teacher friends will roll eyes as we mention ‘heading back to work,’ and they will make snide comments about us having the whole summer off. We will roll eyes back as we mutter, “You just don’t get it.”...

25.07.2013

Pastor José’s eyes were rimmed with red as we gathered at the front of his church. We had just finished painting his house, transforming a drab concrete building into a vibrant standout in his barrio. “My family – we gather every morning to pray, and we have prayed for a year to have our house painted,” he explained softly as the translator relayed his words. I dropped my eyes to the dirt floor of the “Jesus is the Way to Heaven” Church. I have just repainted my entire house, and prayer was not part of the process. The money was in the bank, the desire was in my heart, and that’s all there was to it. I wanted to, so I did.The humble pastor went on to tell us how his family has prayed for paint, but God did not allow for it until now. “Many people in my country think pastors are becoming wealthy,” he said. I wondered what they would think of American celebrity pastors as wealthy as our athletes. He told us of how just that morning God revealed to him a lesson about protection. He said that God kept them from having the money to paint...

22.07.2013

Her brown eyes followed our van as we passed her on the bumpy road, looking through the windows at a dozen Americans conspicuously out of place in her neighborhood. We had come to bless a local Nicaraguan pastor by painting his house, a luxury for a man whose family can easily be without food. She spoke nothing to us, but I wondered what her words would be. What stories could she tell of living in such a place? Homes walled with black plastic sheeting; floors nothing but dirt. Garbage littering what passes for a road, leading to a neighborhood where children wander unattended and adults loiter because there is no job to be worked. I saw her for just seconds, but her face is on my mind tonight. She could be me.My natural reaction on any trip away from America is to pity the inhabitants of wherever I travel.“They just don’t know what they’re missing,” I think. Which is what? More electronic devices than there are people in the house? So much food that I toss expired bags full? So many channels to watch that I never have to converse with the people I love most?Maybe I’m the one who is...

20.07.2013

Tomorrow is a big deal for the new Mrs. Scott. From this point forward, it shall be known as 'the day Jennie got on a plane on purpose for the second time in one summer.'Kind of catchy.The first time was to catch a cruise ship out of Puerto Rico for a luxurious honeymoon where someone else turned down my bed and made cute animals out of my towels. Sunday is to go to Nicaragua for a mission trip where bats are said to fly through the house I'll be staying in and where I will have zero access to a hair dryer or flat iron.So the trips will be slightly different.Other than the plane ride, I'm so excited I can't stand it. If I could just be beamed up like Scotty, all would be well. However, beaming up technology hasn't made its way to me yet, so I'll be forced to zoom through the air at 500 miles an hour in an aluminum can.Can I get some pills, please?Suffice it to say I'm not the best traveler. I have what might be called in some circles a slight case of the panic attacks. My poor new husband still bears the...

21.01.2013

More than anything in this world, I want my children to seek the Lord. Yes, I'd like for them to do well in school and to choose career paths that are fulfilling and noble. I pray that they'll each find a lifelong love, and that their addresses will be no farther than a stone's throw away. I desire for them to know who they really are deep inside and what the passions that consume them are for. As all moms do, I have a laundry list of things I'd love for my children to experience. But more than all that, I just want them to know and love Jesus. The deepest desire of my heart is for them to desire Him.I want them to know what I know of His goodness, trust as I do in His provision, believe as I've come to in His faithfulness. I want them to revel in His Word, be consumed by His work, and devote themselves in His service. A struggle for me has been how to 'train up a child in the way he should go' while still ensuring that the choice is his. I don't want my children simply to follow in my religion;...