It was “clean-up time“ at the pre-school. The busy little children were putting their paintings on the drying shelves, taking off their “dress-up” clothes, and setting other games and toys where they belonged. There was one 4 year old boy who was still building a structure with the blocks, intent on finishing the project that he had in mind. When the teacher came over to him and gently suggested that it was time to stop building and put the blocks away, he thoughtfully looked up at her. It was obvious that he was processing some thoughts. Soon enough, he responded, “The good side of me says, ‘Yes, I will put the blocks away’. The bad side of me says, ‘No, I don’t want to do that right now’”. Being a wise teacher, she chose not to respond too quickly to his dilemma, but simply bent over and moved a stray block or two to the shelves, being careful not to disturb his project. Now the decision was his to make. Fortunately as he began to put the blocks away, he was rewarded with a smile of approval from his teacher.
Already this child had an understanding of the struggle that all of us face throughout our years. Every day we have choices, don’t we? All too often we concentrate on the things that we should NOT DO. We hear that inner voice saying, “Don’t do that”. However, as James explains in his letter (4:17) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins”. What do you think might happen if our focus was more on listening to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit directing us to opportunities to be helpful, to do good, or to show kindness and mercy?
What was it about that teacher that helped the young student choose to respond to “his good side” that particular morning? Was it her smile rather than a stern frown? Was it her personal encounter as she quietly came up to him and spoke to him directly? Was it her helpfulness when she assisted him with moving some of the blocks? Perhaps it was a combination of all of those things, but ultimately it was his willingness to acknowledge that the choice was his and doing what was right would have the best outcome. Isn’t that exactly what the Holy Spirit wants to do for you when you are faced with these decisions?