Friday, March 24, 2006

Snaring Trouble

Returning to school after Spring Break is not kind to a Troublemint Twin. Jeremiah (T-1) went to Florida and zoned out on the attractions. Byrne (T-2) stayed home and zonked out on his brand new Willy Wonka DVD. When they returned to school Jeremiah was still zooming down some spiraling ride or patting the tail of a Clydesdale in his mind somewhere, while Byrne was constantly singing Wonka tunes. It played out in their classroom behavior- big time.

By Wednesday Byrne found himself overloaded with homework. He played around during the daily recitation of the Catechism, even after being warned that he needed to settle down. His father had set the ground rules: “Son, you don’t participate in the Catechism or play around, and you’ll write it out at home that evening.” Gotta love parents like that! During Grammar he just couldn’t help himself. Willie’s song escaped once more, so I sent him to the hallway to “get it out of your system.” After eight minutes he popped his head into the room and declared, “Deaconess, it’s all gone now. I’m tired of singing.” He was smirking. I told him to go back and sing some more. A smirking Twin is still full of trouble. I had him sing ‘til the smirk fell off his face.

Thursday morning he complained his hand ached. Singing in the hallway cost him time to write his paragraph in class. The Fourth Chief Part plus a paragraph is a load of work for a First Grader!

Jeremiah’s mind-shuttle landed sometime Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps it was just returning to the routine of school, perhaps he finally came “down” from the heady experience of his trip to Disneyworld. His family had tried to go last year, but his grandfather had suddenly required open heart surgery. Jeremiah was such a good sport about his disappointment then. Now he had finally gotten to go. It was hard to let go of the last remnants of excitement and Jeremiah did all he could to prolong it, even instigating his own brand of prankish humor and juvenile hilarity in the classroom.

It was not a smooth landing. Jeremiah had already written sentences for disrupting the class and had had Mrs. Sawyer speak to him about his behavior. “You are a First Grader, remember? You not in my kindergarten class anymore, but you sure are acting like it.” Still, it wasn’t until he caught me looking at the sticky note with the phone number to the Alternative School that he remembered where poor behavior could eventually lead. “Ooopsie daisy,” he said.

Thursday morning we were reciting the Fifth Chief Part of the Catechism, Confession. It was a good time for a short catechetical, especially regarding the matter of excluding openly unrepentant sinners. First I explained that it is God’s desire that all people come to Him and be forgiven. Still, not everybody will come to Christ through His pastors to hear they are forgiven, and not everyone should hear they are forgiven even if they do go. I asked the class who these people might be.

Jeremiah responded, “Those are the goats who keep the Commandments. God wants to release their feet from the snare, but they won’t let Him.”

The rest of the class stared at him and said in unison, “HUH?”

“Yeah, you know… the ones who say… ‘We love God. We k
eep the Commandments. We don’t have sins.’ Those are the goats. Remember? If you say you love God, you really don’t because that’s the First Commandment. So you are still in the trap of sin. You are not a sheep.”

Jeremiah had synthesized nearly a school year’s worth of chapel sermons. There’s trouble, and then there’s a Troublemint Twin. Joy comes in knowing how to distinguish the former from the latter, who is constantly being rescued from the snare and put
back in Christ.

Jeremiah got an A+ on his Catechism for the week. The memory verse was Psalm 25:15.

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