She’ll be the one they reach back into their memories for long after they’ve been out of school. They’ll remember something she said that made all the difference. They’ll say: “There was this one bus driver I had in school. She listened to me when nobody else in my life did. She didn’t just talk at me, she talked to me and when there wasn’t much laughter going on in my world, she made me laugh too.”
Haven’t we all said something like that about a favorite teacher, a counselor, bus driver? Someone who reached out and dared to treat you not just as a kid, or a student, but a fellow human being worthy of respect. Respecting each other as well as respecting her is one of the expectations, one of her golden rules on the bus. Another one is that riding the bus is a privilege, not a right. And that her number one priority is to keep them safe.
She also makes it a point to be on time. She knows how important dependability is for the child who waits for a parent who may never show up. She knows how you can carry that disappointment well into your adult years.
Last year, there were singers on the bus, and she encouraged them to try out their songs on her. Then there were the times she cranked up the radio and they all sang. Teachers and principals alike would be standing slack-jawed at the bus stop, hearing the singing pouring out the bus windows. They’d say, “I don’t remember this ever happening before.”
She knows the importance and the power of being a positive presence in a world that to a kid can be a scary unsettled place. She rewards their good behavior and doesn’t hesitate to discipline when it’s necessary, but most of all, she tries to get them to understand and figure out the reasons why for themselves. She encourages them to think about the consequences for their actions before they act, instead of just reacting.
She goes out of her way to understand even the “hard cases” to try to find the root cause for their behavior. She talks to exasperated parents who are at their wit’s end, and she works with them to see how they can work together. And many times the parents tell her that the topic of the dinner table the night before was is “what Miss Elaine said and did on the bus that day.”
She doesn’t leave her faith at home and even though you can’t talk about Jesus in school, she doesn’t have to; she just does her best to love them as He would. To see them as He sees us all, as who we are becoming.
Last night, she brought this gift home from a grateful parent and I didn’t even notice the verse on it until this morning…….
And I expect she will come home with homemade cards and gifts from the kids. And more stories like this one:
There were two little girls, maybe kindergarten age sitting next to each other playing a clapping game, “Clap on, clap off….” Like the clapper on TV. When they started chanting, “Lights on, lights off” she saw an opportunity to have a little fun. Every time they said “lights off” she flicked the lights off and every time they said, “lights on” she turned them on again. (They didn’t know there was a switch right by the seat). The first time it happened, they shrieked, “Did you see that???” They did it again, and she flicked the lights again. Then the whole busload got involved. Of course when all the kids clapped, nothing happened, it was only when the girls did it.
They bounded off the bus, chanting “We have magic powers, we have magic powers!”
As Christians, we may not have magic powers at our disposal but we have something even better. We have an awesome opportunity to bring God’s love into our work place with the help and limitless power of the Holy Spirit. God calls our work Holy, whatever we do. So often, we place so much importance on what we do, whether it measures up with what the world finds worthy. The truth is: God doesn’t care what we do, as long as we do it as unto Him.
All of our work has tremendous potential to change everyone in our circle that means, every job is important.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24