Matthew 7:12

In 1986 Robert Fulghum launched his best-selling book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. His list of the most important things is still a good one. But as important as kindergarten was for me, I learned some even more important lessons as a Sunbeam. For those of you not of a certain age, “Sunbeams” was a Baptist mission education group for five- to seven-year-olds. There I learned that “Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I also learned that “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world” and that “they are precious in his sight.” We also had a great little Sunbeams song: “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, to live for him each day…at home, at school, at play.” Maybe these lessons stuck so well because we sang them. 

There is one more thing I learned in those formative years, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” That golden rule was already old when Jesus taught it. But much more recently I learned that sometimes it is better to “do unto others as they would have you do.” Working with internationals, I became accustomed to being addressed with honorifics, usually undeserved, before my name. Many students and even colleagues were uncomfortable addressing me familiarly. I learned that Mama meant both respect and affection—and was not a comment on my age. I’m still learning to consider how my actions might be misinterpreted by newcomers to Texas-American culture and I’m working to modify some of my behaviors out of consideration and friendship. Regardless of our culture or gender or political persuasion, we want to be shown respect. 


What lessons from your early childhood still ring in your ears today? If those words you still hear are good, do you hold them close to your heart? If they are bad, can you let them go?


Holy God, Jesus shows us that you do not play favorites. May we take his lessons into our hearts and your love into our attitudes. Amen.

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