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Parrot on the Fridge
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It’s been hanging on our fridge since last school year. It’s a paper parrot that *Brian colored (or more like scribbled) and gave me, with a hug. I was surprised by his generosity because we didn’t really know each other. He was a student in a second grade classroom that I visited once a week in order to mentor a student teacher.

I knew from day one that Brian would be this teacher’s challenge—and he was. He talked out of turn, wouldn’t stay in his seat, rarely focused on his in-class assignments, and had a way of shutting you out if you tried to get his attention. He’s the kind of student that makes a teacher want to scream! And it’s my guess that he made his parents want to scream—if they hadn’t already.

But something about Brian tugged at my heart. Maybe it was that the other kids left him out. Maybe it was that he looked lonely. Maybe it was that he frequently got into trouble. Or maybe it was that he always returned my smiles from across the room.

I wonder if Brian is like one of those kids who the disciples tried to shoo away so that they wouldn’t bother Jesus. Parents were bringing their children to Jesus so that He would place His hands on them and bless them, but the disciples tried to send them away. When Jesus saw this He said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them” (Mark 10:14,16).

Jesus Gathered Them

I love that Jesus wanted to have the children around Him. And I love that He gathered them in His arms—He hugged them. Perhaps some were beautiful children, while others were more ordinary. Maybe some came from wealthy families. More than likely some wore tattered clothes because they came from poor families. And, maybe some were even loud and hyper, like Brian. It didn’t matter. Jesus gathered them in His arms.

I’ve kept Brian’s parrot on the fridge for two reasons. Whenever I see him, I tell him, “Hey, your parrot is still on our fridge!” His eyes sparkle and he gives me a big smile. And I keep it there to remind me of Jesus’ example—how He loved the children and hugged them.

So whenever the kids in our homes—where we work—or where we volunteer—try our patience, maybe we should do what the parents did in the book of Mark. We should take them to Jesus, in prayer. We should ask Him to bless them and show us how to love them unconditionally, the way He did—and still does today.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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