There are some evenings, as I become an old woman, that I reflect on the children and teens that I encountered during my day traveling or shopping and wonder how society will survive their coming of age. They are often self-willed, undisciplined and disrespectful. Today is not one of those days. Tonight, as the West Huntsville saints assembled, I learned that twenty of our young men are participating in the song-leading category of our congregation’s Lads to Leaders program this year. And they are doing a tremendous job. They are talented and diligent. What a wonderful world it will be at West Huntsville in ten years if even half of those bright young men end up making their homes in Huntsville! We have 11 great (not average, but really great) adult song leaders already and it will be a great day when all of these budding leaders are added to the rotation. Tonight, as I reflect, I am filled with hope. Of course, this is only one of the Lads programs and our other programs are brimming, as well. Our Leaderettes are stepping up to the plate in big numbers, too. I hope the Lads marry the Leaderettes and together they raise little Lads and Leaderettes all over again!
Speaking of young folks working for the Lord, here’s the final installment of Ally Cole’s story, “School Days.” I hope some of you moms have been using this for Bible Time in your home. Take the time to write Ally and let her know what you think. Blessings on your new week!
A week had passed since the Harvest party, and every day at recess Donald would leave and then return just before World History started. Lacie wondered where the boy was going. Wherever he was going every day must have been a lot of fun, for him to miss recess! in fact, all the kids were wondering why Donald was disappearing every day. Finally , Terry just had to find out . “Hey, kid!” he said just before recess, “Where do you go during recess?”
Donald looked at the ground. “Wehh-yull, I’m a-seein’ somebody.”
“Oh?” Terry leaned in as if he were just about to tell a secret, “What, may I ask, is her name?”
“Umm, really I ain’t got time for this. She’s waitin’ for me right now!”
After Donald disappeared down the road, Terry spread a rumor to everyone in the class that Donald was seeing a girl during recess.
“That ain’t true!” Alice snapped, “We know exactly where he is right now!”
Terry snickered. “Oh yeah? Well then who is he seeing?”
Alice told him she promised Donald she wouldn’t tell.
“Yeah,” Amelia added. “We gave our word.”
Terry stomped off angrily, as usual. Lacie was beginning to wonder about Donald, and who this mystery person was.
“Maybe he is seeing his aunt!” Beth put in her two cents.
“No, no!” Lacie laughed, “He doesn’t seem like a close-family type of person…not to me, anyway.”
It was a crisp morning when the phone rang at the Winters house. Kacie ran down the hall to her mother to ask a question.
“Mother, Amelia wants to know if Lacie and I can go to their house! May we?”
Lacie’s heart sank. She was excited to see Amelia and Alice, but not their brother. She had had enough of him all week at school. She just knew he was trouble.
“Well, I suppose for a while,” said their mother. Kacie was pleased, but Lacie was dreading the visit. The two may have been twins, but they were polar opposites in lots of ways. But Lacie didn’t want to hurt Amelia’s feelings, so she decided to just put her own feelings aside and go.
The twins arrived at a big blue farmhouse that looked as if it was at least a hundred years old. It was beautiful, indeed, and so was the land all around it.
“Go on, Lacie. You knock on the door. I will do the talking.” Kacie pushed her sister in front of her. But there was no need for knocking. Just as the twins reached the porch, Amelia opened the door with a big smile on her face.
“Oh, come in, won’t you?” She led them to the kitchen, where Alice was baking bread.
“What good timin’! You know, now y’uns have gotta have some bread!” Lacie loved how cute Alice sounded with her southern accent. It was so funny how Amelia sounded as if she were from Switzerland.
“Oh, we may have just a tiny bit!” Kacie laughed, “By the way, where is your brother?”
“No, no! Why on earth did you ask that!” thought Lacie. She hoped he was with that girl or whoever it was he had been visiting all week long at school.
“Oh, he’s out in the barn. Alice, get him, won’t you?”
A few moments later Alice came back inside the house with her older brother. Noticing there were guests in the house, he took off his hat. “ ‘Mornin’, Kacie and Lace.”
“It’s Lacie,” she frowned.
Donald threw his hands into the air. “Oh, yeah I knew that! Hey Al, get us some bread, won’t you?”
Lacie was almost afraid to think Donald was kind of sweet…something about the way he said that.
After the bread was served, Amelia took the twins outside, to show them the land. Alice and Donald were right behind them. “Down there is where we plan to plant our crops,” Amelia said. “Where would you like to go next?”
“I have a question,” Lacie randomly and awkwardly said, “Why do you leave during recess, Donald?” She kind of hoped that would keep him away from her, because he immediately seemed uncomfortable.
“Uhm, well….Amie, why don’t you and Al show Kacie the orchard? I’ll explain later.”
After the three girls disappeared over a hill, Donald sighed.
“What’s the matter?” Lacie asked. “You can just forget I asked that silly question. It’s none of my business, I know.”
“No, Lacie, it’s fine. You seem like someone I can trust, so I’ll tell you. I—It’s just—I feel so misplaced at that school. Not like I feel here, where one good deed I do doesn’t become a bad rumor.”
At that moment, Lacie felt a bit upset. “Well, don’t think about Terry. He’s always been like that! Tell me, why didn’t you eat your slice of cake at the party? I mean a big piece of cake’s a rare treat at a school party.” Donald looked up as if studying the clouds in the sky.
“Uhm…like I said, I was savin’ it…for……………
my ma….she’s dyin’…..and it ain’t no little gal I’m seein’. I go to see Ma during recess.”
Suddenly, Lacie’s heart sank. Her pity for Donald showed in her eyes and she was filled with sadness for her own harsh judgments. She listened to him explain that his mother had pneumonia, and that it was getting worse by the minute.
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that! But why didn’t you just say so in the first place instead of making us wonder? I mean, even I thought you were looking for attention.”
“Aw, come on!” Donald smirked, “I ain’t no attention grabber! That was why I didn’t want to tell the class about Ma. She is the one who needs the attention, not me.”
“How much longer does your mother have?”
Donald told her that the doctor said maybe a year, but no one could be sure. Lacie just sat there and stared at the ground, full of remorse for all the mean things she had thought and even said about Donald.
Remembering what Caleb had said earlier, she sighed, “Oh, Donald I am just so sorry that I misjudged you! Can’t I make it up to you?”
“No,” Donald shook his head, “Y’uns have been kind enough to me already, Lacie.” “Oh, please,” Lacie grinned, “Call me Lace.”
Another week passed by and and Lacie shared with Kacie and Mrs. Colley the truth about Donald’s mother. By the end of the week, everyone had a different perspective about Donald. Mrs. Colley had Terry lead the prayer and include the Pershing’s. She also had everyone form a line and give them each a hug before class was dismissed. When it was Darla’s turn to give Donald a hug, she looked at him and said, “I am sorry. We love y’uns!” (Darla and Alice had become fast friends during the past few days.)
After school was over, Caleb and Hannah made an effort to see Donald. “You know, we’re so glad to know troopers like y’all!” Caleb grinned. “We’re praying for you and your family at the Colley house. Can we do anything for you?”
“No sir,” Donald shook his head, “Prayer is all we need right now.”
Hannah had been in the field, picking a bouquet of roses. “Here,” she handed Donald the bouquet, “Tell your mother the Colley’s are thinking about y’all.”
The harvest time had turned out to be a wonderful season at the little school, and Lacie had to admit to Beth that she was wrong.
“Now I told you that you can’t write his character in your imagination like a storybook, didn’t I?”
Lacie smiled and nodded. She was just proud to have great friends like Beth, Kacie, Hannah, Caleb, Ben, Amelia, Alice——and Donald.
Things to think about:
1. Lacie was sad that she had judged Donald harshly. Have you ever judged someone harshly or before you knew all the facts? Read I Samuel One and find where someone judged another person before knowing all the facts. In Matthew 1:19, there was a just man who decided something before knowing all the facts. Who was this?
2. Why do you think Mrs. Colley asked Terry to lead the prayer? Does prayer ever help you decide the right thing to do?
3. ”Prayer is all we need right now.” These words of Donald’s describe so many situations that people experience. Can you think of someone in your congregation for whom you really can think of little else to do but pray? Is prayer a small thing to do for others or a big thing? Why?
4. Have your children email Ally Cole at email@example.com and let her know how they enjoyed the story and how they would change it if they were concluding it themselves. It will be fun for Ally to hear from them!