The Standard October 30, 2019
Observing elementary students with special needs who have spent months together in the classroom provides striking images of a deep sense of community to which many of us only could aspire. An older child explains that this younger classmate is particularly sensitive to loud noises so we should try to keep our voices down. One who is taller and more steady on his feet shares that a smaller and less sure-footed student might need a hand in getting to her seat. An expressive child gives some advice in communicating carefully with a minimally verbal student. A girl affectionately tells her friend that her constant smiling makes the day happier. A student lovingly pats the shoulder of a classroom assistant.
To consider the immeasurable worth of those around us is something worth slowing down to do. To take the time to discover and more deeply understand their strengths and challenges enables us to appreciate them and offer any help, if needed. If they do the same for us, we will be appreciated and helped. To lessen an atmosphere of competition or comparison definitely results in a more pleasant group experience. We can be glad for the good news and accomplishments of others. A prevailing sense of camaraderie boosts everyone’s spirits.
In the Old Testament King Solomon writes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Jesus, before demonstrating the ultimate love, says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians writes, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) We can learn a lot about friendship and love from little children. May God help us as we build a stronger, more cohesive community.