Today we arrived late picking up the kids from the Middle School parking lot. It has never happened before so we were kinda unprepared for what we really needed to do. The tradition is that there are about six handicapped parking spaces along the street side of the gym… close to where the kids exit the school. We pull up and back into these spots. If you park there you MUST get there a half hour before the bell rings… and you MUST have a handicapped placard hanging from your mirror or a handicapped license plate on the rear of your car.
Getting there late meant we lost our cherished spot and had to park almost at the end of the parking lot on the street side. Our mission (if we chose to accept it) was to wait for one of the handicapped spaces to come empty and move our car into that spot. That way the kids will know where we are. They are accustom to us being in one of those six spaces.
On the other side of the drive way or parking lot regress the school has placed several big orange traffic cones with signs on them which read: “NO PARKING.” You see if someone parks there some cars and buses cannot get through and it becomes unsafe for everyone, especially the kids. They had to put up the signs because people would park right next to the big orange cone as if it were saving them a special spot.
A teacher has to come out every afternoon to check to see if anyone is illegally parked. Sometimes people will argue with him and he just refers them to the deputy sheriff on duty over near the gym. Most move, some still try to get away with something they know is absolutely wrong.
Right after the Charlie Brown outside the gym speaker system showered us with static, noise and other unintelligible sounds out comes our teacher on patrol. He spots a red SUV parked behind a big orange traffic cone. Not sure what she told him, but he walked away looking at this phone and she just sat there. Shirley was in the process of making her way toward our old space and the friends we had shared those spots with for several years now (Tarheel Fans). On her way she stops and speaks to the lady in the red van. My wife says something she would probably only say to me… she said: “How do you get to park there and no one else can?” WOW Babe!!! The lady made some excuses that sounded like “I have things I have to do.” Shirley walks on and joins our friends as she waits for Noah to come from the High School and Abby to Come from the Middle School.
The lady in the red SUV slowly pull off and enters a parking space less that twenty-five feet from her illegal spot. She gets out of her van and walks back to talk with a lady in another vehicle. In sync they look toward Shirley as if to point that she was THE one who had the gall to question her parking choice.
When the kids got in the car they informed us that she was the leader of Campus Life at Southeast Middle School. Here is the point I want to make: Being a Christian leader does not mean that we are better than anyone or that we are privileged in some way. She knows better… or should. She has to know that kids are always watching her… and she is setting a very poor example of how a Christian leader behaves even in the smallest of matters. Christian leadership is about servanthood not special treatment. I couldn’t help but remember Reverend Adam Hamilton emphasizing that on his large campus his parking space is the one far away from the door he enters. It is clear that people know that he sees himself as a servant and not a person of privilege.
I think our Campus Life Leader will do well to take a clue!!!
Little eyes are watching you.
They see what you say and know what you do.
One day they will grow up to be just like you
Grace and Peace