Lesson from My ‘Lunch Bunch’

Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on April 24, 2012

   Most teachers have an ample amount of incentives to use in a classroom.  One incentive that I use is called the Lunch Bunch.  To receive this high honor, a student goes six weeks with only losing one sticker. 

   How does a student earn a sticker?  They don’t.  But…they can lose their sticker.  At the beginning of each day, a student starts with a clean slate.  At the beginning of the day, they know they will get a sticker in that day’s spot on their chart.  However, they also know that if they forget their homework or make choices that result in turning two cards (we have color codes, and the first turn is merely a warning), then that sticker will be forfeited. 

   During the first semester, we would have 5-8 students earn the status of Lunch Bunch.  Then, those students and I simply eat lunch in my classroom.  Nothing big…just a 20-25 minute lunch in room 302.

   Well, last Friday we filled a chart, so today we had lunch together. (I always make sure it’s a day I’ll eat the school lunch, so it feels more like we’re having a family dinner.)  Drum roll please…tadatadatada…today, we had a whopping 11!  Now this may not seem like a big deal, but it’s 1 1/2 less than half my class. We were quite proud our total was that high. 

   So, I sat at one end of the table, and there were five students on either side with the final student at the opposite end.  It was like the Waltons with Grandpa or John Boy.

   At the beginning, every time we have this activity, someone will remark how quiet it is and how we can hear the cafeteria (that has about 200 students eating lunch).  Then, slowly but surely, the conversations begin.  After remarking how it felt like we were in a restaurant, the real talking began.  For the next 20 minutes, I had 11 students who couldn’t wait to tell me…something.

   I heard stories about dead dogs, dumb dogs, hospital visits, plane rides, approaching college graduations, and more dog stories.  Sometimes, they’d have quiet conversations, but for the most part…they were eager to talk to me.  To see my face react to the stories they shared.  We finally had to outlaw dead animals stories…I mean it was lunch after all. 

   I glance at the clock and realize it’s time to head to the cafeteria to return our trays and pick up the 12 students (we had two absent today).  And, just like every other time, I hear these types of remarks.

“Already?  I’m not finished.”
“Can I go ahead and finish my story?” [Sure, she told it to me as we walked down the hallway]
“Well, listen to this, Miss P…”

   You see…they had so much to talk about…to share with me about their journey through life that time had zipped by and they weren’t ready for it be finished.

Of course, it made me think….

   As I sat watching hands being raised during lunch…eager to be the next one to tell a story, I thought…”I bet God would love for us to be this eager to talk to Him.”

   Yep, in the midst of my lunch with 11 third graders, I realized I needed to have that same excitement about talking to Him.  He already knows my tears and my joys, but He still wants me to tell Him about it.  From our trivial lunch stories, “I like burnt corn.  Do you?”  To the more personal stories, “I was holding my baby sister in my arms when she died.”  Yes, I should have that same passion to have His attention….to spend talking to Him. 

   Of course, I must admit.  There were also times at lunch when they listened to me.  Whether it was sharing stories about Jasper (my cat) or Connor (my nephew), they were just as eager to know me better.  God is too.  The more time I spend with Him…the more I know Him…the closer I grow to Him.  I can guarantee I know those 11 students more now than I did before sharing lunch and listening to their dog stories.

  Then, I thought…and the best part…He’s always there.  I don’t have to raise my hand and wait my turn.  I don’t have to wait six weeks until there’s time.  I don’t have to worry that I’ll mess up one too many times and lose my chance.  I can do it right now.  But will I?  Will you?

   Learn from my lunch bunch, and sit down to sup with Him.  Share your thoughts, your dreams, your sorrows….share your very soul.

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