Untie one another’s knotted shoelaces

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

The students that have passed through my classroom over the years have taught me many lessons. Allow me to share one of my favorite parables from my classroom.

We were preparing to leave the classroom when one second-grader caught my eye. I watched him as he attempted to walk, then sat down and fumbled with his shoelaces. This fruitless procedure was repeated a couple of times until I went over to have a closer look.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

I barely heard his sheepish reply as he hung his head and whispered, “I, uh, I tied my shoelaces together.”

A quick look at his shoes confirmed that his ‘creative lace tying’ had immobilized him. I

now had a choice. I could berate him for his poor decision, or I could help him. If I drew

attention to this situation, the other students’ would likely laugh at him. He may even join in their laughter. Sometimes laughing at yourself

is an attempt to form a barrier to lessen the painful attacks, or ‘friendly fire’ of your peers.

I firmly believe that humiliating someone is never God’s will. I consider this type of behavior to be unacceptable and I believe that it should never be tolerated in a civilized society. Whether in the classroom or the boardroom; the

cafeteria line or the assembly line; in sports or

on the playing field of life; humiliation

should never be a condoned as a form of motivation.

I knelt beside this embarrassed child, untied his shoelaces, retied them properly and said, “Please don’t do that again.” With his head now held high, he smiled and said, “Yes, ma’am.”

The only reason I have the grace to respond in this manner is because I’ve made wrong choices, too. In many other ways, I’ve ‘tied my shoelaces together,’ rendering me unable to

move forward. God could have chosen to humiliate me. However, as I have whispered cries of help, cries which are audible only to my Heavenly Father, He has knelt beside me, straightened out my situation and encouraged me to make better choices.

In Luke 12:47, Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I been given much, but I have been forgiven more.

May God continue to grace us so that we will look for opportunities to ‘untie one another’s knotted shoelaces.’

Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.