The Date: Mid-September, 2006
The Location: The Multi-Purpose lunchroom at Copper Canyon Elementary School
The Time: 11:45 A.M. First Grade lunch period
The Scene: The Cafeteria is buzzing with kids, Lunch Ladies and Duty Aids. Four First Grade classes are halfway through their lunch period. The 100 First graders are about equally divided between the girl’s section and the boy’s section. It was a perfectly normal day, until Ryan stood up. Ryan left his Spiderman lunchbox behind and headed straight towards the girl’s table. He walked pass the Lunch Duty Aid, across the “neutral zone” and straight into Girl World. Ryan plopped himself down at the end of the table, right next to Emma Jeanne. The first grade students on both sides of the aisle were quick to notice this brash and unexpected move on Ryan’s part. Ryan looked straight ahead. His breathing was shallow, his face slightly strained and contorted. Suddenly, from some deep place in his soul came an anguished confession. “I LOVE EMMA” Ryan screamed out at the top of his little lungs. The lunchroom fell quiet, for one long second. Then there was chaos. The girls were screaming and squealing, the boys were moaning and groaning. The Duty Aids were attempting to restore order. It was an epic moment for the whole class.
The Follow Up: I arrive home and get the download about Emma’s Lunchroom episode. I am dispensing a generous amount of fatherly care, wisdom and support to my sweet young daughter. I decide to finish our conversation by giving her a final nugget of relational insight. “Emma someday there may be a man in your life who wants to marry you, just remember, he needs to love you more than anything else in his life.” Emma looked at me, paused and said, “Actually, dad, I think he needs to love Jesus a little more than me…..right?” Ouch. My first grade daughter knew better than I what her heart needed, a man who would love Jesus a little more than her. She will be more than safe and happy in the company of such a man; she will be whole and free. Love your daughter wildly, fiercely, beyond all reason and measure; love Jesus just a little more.
Peace and Grace,
Dr. Don Worcester