Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Seeing Mike ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Seeing Mike ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

My fifth-grade student - I'll call him "Mike" - had his head down on the desk and was unusually quiet. I asked him if he'd like me to call his grandmother to pick him up, but he said no. He didn't want to miss math class.

This was a turning point. Up to that time, Mike and I had been engaged in a clash of wills. One morning, early in the semester, I had sent him out of my class 16 times for disruptive behavior. When I had a conference with his grandmother, she apologized, explaining that Mike and his younger brother had been abandoned by both their parents, and had lived for a time on the streets of Los Angeles until taken into protective custody and placed in foster homes. She'd gone to court and fought hard to get custody of the boys, but it was a long process, and she was afraid irreversible damage had been done in the meantime.

After Mike's comment about wanting to stay at school, I took a closer look at what I had been thinking about him. This was a boy who conscientiously did his math homework. When he finished his math class work, he would announce, "I'm done. Who needs help?" And his fellow students would seek him out for his patient explanations.

I also noticed that, although he had come into my class somewhat behind the other students because of the interruptions in his life, he made rapid progress and delighted in the timed multiplication facts tests I gave daily.

So what was behind his outbursts of temper and his clowning around in class? I had dismissed this behavior as "little boy" bids for attention, and I had refused to give it to him; but I had also ended many days with a feeling of helpless defeat. However, when Mike made it clear how much he loved math class, I resolved to pray for us both.

I often begin my prayer sessions by remembering what God is. I particularly love the description of God Mary Baker Eddy gives in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all- loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence" (page 587).

I've read this definition many times, but this time, thinking about Mike's situation, the phrase "all-seeing" became significant. …

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