I live in a state where corporal punishment is still used in school. In other counties, parents are usually allowed to give or refuse permission for their child to be paddled, but in this town, no such choice is given. And paddling can be used as a first response for anything that any teacher considers wrong behavior (chewing gum, talking in class, being late, etc.). I’m told at least one paddling occurs every day, and that an assistant principal walks the hallways and the school lunch room with paddle in hand.
Parents have protested this before, threatening lawsuits, but the principals tell the other children who harass the kids of the protesting parents. Most of the parents see nothing wrong with it. The judges, lawyers, and lawmakers of this town don’t think there’s anything wrong with it either. It’s been this way for generations and they see no need to change.
Nevertheless, I am going to change it.
When I came to the church in this town, a phrase came to me that recurs often: unquenchable good will.
I’m going to unleash it on this school.
This community responds to kindness and benevolent strength. I’m bringing the full force of my good will on the school this year. I’ll bring candy, give cards, write encourage notes, and have my church offer various kinds of support. And I am especially going to focus on the principals—I aim to sweeten them up. I’m going to the lunches and pass out treats to the kids. I’ll get permission walk the hallways to speak to the tired teachers and greet students.
Hell, I may even start attending sports game, which I loathe, but if it will help, I’ll do it.
I’m going to form a team in my church to focus on changing the hearts of the school leaders. We will pray and envision a different world to form within the walls of school. And we will strategize: “How can we change the hearts of these people?”
Then I’ll reach outside my church to other ministers and teach them to do the same thing.
But that’s another entry.
I aim to make converts. But it won't be for Sunday school and it won't be to carve holy notches in my belt. I'm going to convert this town, starting with those who teach the children. And I’ll do it in Jesus’ name.
I’ll report back here to tell of my progress.