Fear builds walls
Walls between people and cultures.
Walls that prevent understanding and lead to pain and isolation.
There was a young boy in my class many, many years ago.
A boy with a smile that lit up the whole room.
He was new to the school that year and knew no one.
Yes, all the way from Amsterdam –
He spoke no English.
When I first heard that he was being placed in my class
I wondered how I would teach him anything.
I knew no French except for oui (yes).
How would I make a connection?
How would I help my other students build relationships with him?
Could I possibly reach him and be successful in teaching him?
Somehow I knew that I must try.
But this young boy embraced that challenge of first grade in America with an open spirit
and we all gave that to him.
He quickly learned the class routines, the names of his fellow students, my name.
Yes, he amazed me how quickly he picked up English.
And he taught all of us how to count in French and an assortment of other words and phrases.
Together we laughed and shared
and a bridge of understanding was built.
I long to live a life of bridges, not walls. Don’t you, my friend?
Bridges that connect us
where we can learn from each other.
Yes, I was the teacher that year but that young boy taught me more than he will ever know.
There is no fear when we are willing to learn from each other.
Let’s build bridges wherever we live.
And be willing to take that first step forward.
Will you join me today in building a bridge?