Respect—it’s easy to talk about, but sometimes difficult to deliver. Erin was in a tough spot, but chose the high road by respecting her teacher even when she knew her peers would give her a hard time.
Respect in Action
“That’s enough class. I have had it up to here.” Mrs. Griggs demonstrated the extent of her frustration by holding her hand flat under her chin. “Get to work and don’t let me hear any more nonsense. If you talk or get out of your seat, it’ll be the principal’s office.”
Silence hung like a fog over the students. Erin leaned over her paper afraid to look up. Mrs. Griggs was on a tear today. The approaching state tests had all the teachers on edge, but Mrs. Griggs was really uptight about how her eighth-grade Algebra class would do.
Out of nowhere, a pencil landed on Erin desk. She heard a noise and looked around to see Hannah headed her way. When she got to Erin’s desk, she picked up the pencil and leaned down to whisper.
“Guess who threw my pencil.” She giggled and looked over at Jake.
Mrs. Griggs looked up. “Girls, that’s it. Out in the hall. And no talking, or you’ll really pay.”
Erin and Hannah waited silently until class ended. When the bell rang, Mrs. Griggs stormed out the door and confronted them. “What were you thinking? Didn’t I tell you no talking or getting out of seats? I’m tired of your disobedience. Well? What do you have to say for yourselves?”
A crowd of students gathered a few feet away. Erin desparately wanted to defend herself—to tell Mrs. Griggs that she had not talked or gotten out her seat. She thought of remarks that would put Mrs. Griggs in her place. If you had been watching the class instead of messing with your tablet, you would have seen what happened. Why do you sit at your desk all the time, anyway?
Mrs. Griggs’ anger cooled somewhat by the time the three of them met with the principal, but the next day Erin faced her peers.
Facing the Opinion of Her Peers
“Man, Erin, why’d you let her chew you out in front of everybody? You didn’t do anything wrong. I thought you had more spine than that.”
“Yeah, Erin. You can’t let a teacher run over you, especially the way she acts. She doesn’t deserve your respect.”
Erin took a deep breath. “I know I looked like a wimp. But I did get to tell the principal what happened. Besides, I have to treat a teacher with respect even if she doesn’t always deserve it.”
A Biblical Basis for Showing Respect
Erin is in an awkward place with her peers. Paul told the Hebrews, “ Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.” Hebrews 13:17 NIV For that reason, she knows, even when it is hard, she must treat Mrs. Griggs with respect. Through her actions over time, Erin is showing her peers a picture of an authentic Christian. That’s more important than delivering a insult in front of her friends.