As we near the middle of the term, things have really ramped up, if that is even possible! This week the Year Eight boys headed off on camp for three days, with the other two days set aside for Medieval Day and other activities back here at school. Last week, we completed our second round of Student Led Conferences which appeared to be well received and productive for all concerned. We also witnessed the College Production of ‘Dimboola’, which provided a light hearted look at country life in the 1970’s here in Australia. All the students involved are to be congratulated, as are the team of staff involved, under the leadership of Mr Adam Croft. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their commitment and efforts in providing our boys the opportunity to perform. Well done!
Today we host about 20 boys who were unable to attend our initial Becchi Morning. We will go about making sure they feel welcome and begin to develop their sense of belonging to this great community. There are a million other things happening other than the day to day educating of the boys, and I thank all staff involved in these activities and wish them and the students all the best in their endeavours.
In this week’s blog I share a story I read many years ago, that I re visit from time to time to remind me of the need to be conscious that every interaction, every word or gesture can have a profound impact on the person with whom we are dealing. This is especially important for us teachers as the precious people we deal with on a daily basis are the adults of tomorrow. Each and every day we help to shape and form these young people into the person they will become. We should never forget the privilege nor the responsibility we have to these young people, their parents and to the wider community. I witness each and every day acts of kindness and care demonstrated by the staff here at Salesian College, and I truly believe that the boys placed in our care are very fortunate, and the world will benefit from their works as they set about forming our boys into honest citizens and men of good Christian values. The seeds they scatter will blossom for all to see. Enjoy the read.
It’s What You Scatter
I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes… I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.
Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’
‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good’
‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’
‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’
‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’
‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’
‘Would you like to take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller.
‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.’
‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’
‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’
‘Is that right? Let me see it’, said Miller.
‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’
‘I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked.
‘Not zackley, but almost.’
‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’. Mr. Miller told the boy.
‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.
When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all, and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble, or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket.
Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.
They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size….they came to pay their debt.’
‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho …’
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles.
A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself…
An unexpected phone call from an old friend….
Green stoplights on your way to work….
The fastest line at the grocery store….
A good sing-along song on the radio…
Your keys found right where you left them.
It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you have lived.