Community, Homeschool

Picture Day

105 - School Picture Day

School picture day is usually a highlight for most students. I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror weeks before the anticipated day, practicing my smile. Big or half smile? Open or closed mouth? Which one is my best side? Don’t tell me I’m the only one out there who did this.

Earlier this week, our homeschool group held its annual picture day. Gabriel took his individual shots like a pro. We waited around for everyone else to finish, and then the call to gather all the children for the group picture came. This is when the tides began to turn. The children were told to line up from tallest to shortest. Obviously, the older children knew what to do, but the younger ones, like my kids, looked very lost and confused. The chatter amongst the adults and children grew louder, and when Gabriel tried to call me for help but I didn’t hear him, he started to lose it. Rearranging the students around is to be expected, but when the photographer kept changing the spot where Gabriel was to stand, that put him over the edge. In the middle of a sea of children, there was my Gabriel, frustrated and crying. God, please help me, I silently prayed as I tried to calm him down. When everything was done, the walk back to the car seemed endless. No longer able to hold back my own tears, I found myself wishing things were different.

What good came out of this? I asked God to open my eyes to see His good, the good that He promises to work together (Romans 8:28). My own tears seemed to blur any hint of good, but The Lord wiped the tears away and showed me.

During the incident when Gabriel was crying, a boy his age reached out to him. “It’s okay, Gabriel,” he comforted. Afterwards when the children dispersed, this boy approached Gabriel and gave him a hug. But my son wasn’t the only one who was the recipient of some needed encouragement. Two mothers approached me at the parking lot, hugged me, and prayed with me. This was the good that God intended from a difficult situation: He showed me love through the selfless actions of others.

When we see someone in emotional distress, it’s not always easy to approach that person. We don’t want to get involved. We are at a loss for words. We are fearful of making it more awkward and worse for that person and for us. Often, we find it easier to turn the other way. The boy and the mothers did the harder thing. They came to us. And we were blessed by it.

We turn toward others and move in their direction. That is how the kingdom of heaven works. Sin scatters people; grace draws us toward each other.*

*Quote by Edward T. Welch (biblical counselor and author)
(Photo credit: Holtsman)

19 thoughts on “Picture Day”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I personally always hated picture day when I was in school. The boy who encouraged Gabriel was such a compassionate sweetie! Did Gabriel feel better?
    I agree that when we see a difficult situation it is very difficult to know what to do. When I lost my son, I noticed some people kept their distance. It hurt then but now I know it was because they did not know how to handle such an overwhelming situation.

    1. Thank you for your comment! As difficult as that situation was at the time, I’m thankful that I can look back on it and see how The Lord worked it out for good. It was definitely a lesson for me to be more bold and courageous and reach out to others who are in need of encouragement.

  2. Don’t you love when you see compassion come out at such an early age? You wonder how much of it is nurture, and how much is nature. I’d be so proud of this boy if he was my son.

    Heck, I’m proud of him anyway.

    1. Just when I began to think my son would grow up having no friends, this boy who reached out to him, proved me wrong. Whether it’s nature or nurture, God put him at the right place, at the right time. Thank you for your comment! Blessings!

  3. I’ve been there, not with my Gabriel but with my Jedidiah–Beloved of YHWH. Not the same situation but many others: learning problems so I had to sit with him for hours, days. Bad behaviour, violent outbursts, police to our house… I recently saw a scar on Gabriel’s (Jed’s younger brother) abdomen and asked him how it got there. Jed stabbed him once. He didn’t tell me coz he didn’t want Jed to get into trouble. Gabes just taped it up, in pain, for days, weeks? until it healed! Jed’s now a jackaroo, a total man. He takes out his anger fearlessly on wild pigs. The family he works for adores him. He ALWAYS does what he is told and is quick to apologize when he is in the wrong. You will get through this. Gabriel will grow up and it will be a distant memory. Don’t take the things Gabriel does personally. He needs YOU to help him get through his hard moments, not for you to be upset about what he is doing to you or others. Once I realized this about Jed things improved dramatically, immediately, and permanently.

  4. It takes such courage to reach out to someone is hurting: the fear of saying and doing the wrong thing, or of intruding, is so great.

    But to those who have been brave and come over to hug me and be willing to listen ( just as those wondrous friends did for you)… THANK YOU!

  5. I’m reproved. I’d be the one who, scared that drawing attention to this person would embarrass them more, would just walk away from the situation. I’m glad there are folks who do reach out with comfort and encouragement.

  6. Your posts encourage my heart so much … in a (even Christian) world, where perfection and smiles matter much, where standing in the right place and getting sorted by size, seems to be not only important for picture day, you remind us that God does not see like we see … your posts point to a larger Truth, the value of life and the purpose for it! I am so grateful to have crossed paths with you!

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