Real Mission: Show & Tell
You know how they say that "all you really need to know, you learned in kindergarten"? Well, I think that parable has a lot of truth in it. Turns out, my kindergarten teacher was an Episcopalian, but that is a story for another blog post.
One of my favorite parts about kindergarten when I was a little girl, was Show & Tell. We waited with bated breath to bring in our favorite toys, or knickknacks snatched from our big sister’s bedrooms, or little odds-n-ends that we found in the kitchen junk drawer.
I remember distinctly one Show & Tell in Mrs. Nelson-Linck’s class where I brought a little white plastic kitten curled up in a ball, that slept sweetly in a pale blue wicker basket. Concealed on the underside of this little resin cat was hidden gem I'm sure all little girls dream about: A blue velvet lint brush.
I took that little lint brush everywhere I went around the house, to friends’ houses, I even took it to the swimming pool once. When the day finally came for me to share it with my kindergarten class, I was so overwhelmed with excitement I could hardly stand it.
I remember pulling it from my book bag with a suspenseful drawl, as I prepared to reveal the hidden contents to my friends. Turns out, none of my little kindergarten buddies knew what the heck a lint brush was, but that didn’t matter. I knew its magic. It was a soft comfort as I rubbed it on my cheeks before nap time and a connective tool that caught my dad's attention as he slipped his shoes on for work each day.
But the real reason why the little resin cat meant so much to me was because it was a gift given to me in the mission field.
You see, kindergarten only took up half the day, and just after snack time my mom would pick me up from the elementary school and drive me to the nursing home down the road where my parish priest shared weekly Eucharist with a group of loving seniors. My role in the ministry was to go with my mother to the lunchroom and wheel our fellow parishioners to the small Chapel just off the lobby for the service.
Many of the faithful who lived there had dementia, and an older man with an electric wheelchair mistakenly took me for his granddaughter every week. I remember my mother telling me to let him pretend. We were family after all.
The little plastic cat was a gift from him. Such a prized possession to this day that though I do not remember his name I still remember what he looked like and the infectious laughter that he shared with our community. His presence was a gift, and the cat was a sign of the love shared in that place.
Today at 4:00 pm, my 5-year-old son will engage in the time honored tradition of Show & Tell with 12 other little ones around a computer screen, and all throughout the day, he will search diligently for the perfect toy or other possession that he most wants to share with his friends, and I will be here anticipating the joy that he will feel in sharing it with others.
This past Sunday’s Gospel lesson about Thomas reminds me of the elation that one can feel from sharing something of such great value with friends, and the possibility that the friends might not understand how amazing the thing is that you are showing to them. They might have doubts about the contents.
They might not be able to see with their hearts, the thing they see with their eyes. They might need to touch it and experience bewilderment as they contemplate what your Show & Tell means for their life.
The thing we bring might not be what others expect to have presented at the Show & Tell, but if the one sharing recognizes that the thing they possess is a gift, then Show & Tell will remain a pillar of the kindergarten classroom, and it will continue to be true that everything we really need to know we learned in kindergarten.
So, tell me, what would you bring to Show & Tell?
Tags: Real Mission Blog