I am going to approach our city council at its next meeting and request that Small Town, USA officially move Halloween to a Friday evening in June next year, because the rippling effect of Halloween Hangover ’11 is a difficult thing to bounce back from.

It’s like being a Denver Bronco right now, and knowing that the top is SOMEWHERE, but you’re completely unable to see it or function properly or play a good enough defense to keep the points from stacking up on you.

Today in my pre-kindergarten PE class, we played a game that involved throwing balls everywhere, and I eventually had to establish a bench on the sidelines as The Hospital.  If you were crying, sniffling, or hopped up with the anger because SOMEONE HAD THE AUDACITY TO STEAL THE BALL AWAY FROM YOU, you got to sit in The Hospital and sob until you felt better.

At one point, I had six little munchkins sitting on that bench all at once, bawling like calves at a branding.  And honestly, I was THISCLOSE to joining them, and letting loose with a wail that would release some of the pent up frustration from the other PE classes I’d endured this afternoon.

In 4th grade PE, we had an all-out brawl, which involved an entire gang of boys sitting on the sidelines, breathing in through their noses and out through their mouths, as they tried to calm down and remember that THE RULES OF A GAME ARE THERE FOR A REASON.  Because when you’re on a Halloween Hangover that won’t quit, and you’re a whopping ten years old, sometimes seeing someone cheat at dodgeball will about do you in.

And in the 2nd grade, I had one little fellow who earned some quality time on the bench, which was not The Hospital at that point, but rather the Sit-Right-There-Because-I-Am-Trying-To-Decide-Whether-I-Should-Call-Your-Mama-Up-For-That-Behavior-Or-Not bench.  Eventually, I decided against calling the mother, and I told him to meet me in the gym during recess, because he was going to spend some time sitting with me.

And let me tell you, when the kid came back in while his classmates went outside to play, I sat down beside him, and he ended up tipping over on the bench, with his head in my lap, and he cried because he was tired, and he cried because he was sorry he’d misbehaved, and he cried because he had some issues in this world that most kids shouldn’t have to face.

And that’s when I remembered a devotional that I had read one day last week, which said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all wear a sign around our necks which said, ‘BE GENTLE WITH ME; I’VE HAD THIS ISSUE TO DEAL WITH THIS WEEK, AND I MAY NOT ACT LIKE MYSELF RIGHT NOW.'”  And as mad as I had been at this little guy for his behavior in 2nd grade PE, when he came back and we talked things out, I realized that his sign around his neck should have said, “Be gentle with me.  I’m eight years old, and I’m functioning on very little sleep, and I have a headache today, and I have THIS that really upset me this week.”

And the 4th graders, who had been intent on clubbing one another in their brawl, all had to talk to me after class, too.  Their signs should have read, “Be gentle with us.  We’re ten, and you’d think we could handle a late night of trick-or-treating and all the sugar that follows, but we really can’t, and we had a huge math test this week.”

And my pre-kindergarten kids in The Hospital all should have been wearing signs that said, “Be gentle with us.  We’re four years old, and this has been one crazy week for us, and two of us still have face paint from our Halloween costumes behind our ears, because it hasn’t even been washed completely off yet, and we’re all flat-out exhausted.”

Yes, that devotional from last week really smacked me hard today.  This afternoon, I wondered about the sign that was hanging around the driver’s neck who DELIBERATELY STOLE my parking space from me.  I wondered about the sign hanging from the neck of the mother in the pediatrician’s office while we were there for the boy’s annual asthma check-up, who looked frazzled and sleep-deprived, as she walked out with a child who was coughing like mad. Hubs’ sign at work today would have read, “Be gentle with me.  I shook the Coffee Mate jug up this morning, ten minutes before I had to leave for work, and the lid wasn’t on it.  The term MESS doesn’t even come close to describing what I had to deal with.”

I’m pretty sure that we all have signs around our necks, and that those signs read differently every day, based on what we’ve encountered.

So really?

Let’s be gentle with one another.

And having Halloween on a Friday night in the middle of summer vacation would sure erase a lot of problems off of those signs!

2 thoughts on “Signs

  1. Oh, I love that. How awesome that your devotion came to you when you needed it. And yes, there is always something we don’t know when we judge someone. Thanks for that encouragement today!

  2. Loved this post! It’s so true. I will HAVE to remember this when my neighbor yells criticisms out his window at me again tomorrow. It has become a habit of his and it takes all my energy and patience not to yell something nasty back at him. Thank you for he reminder today!

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