When I was a shy kindergartener, my mom sent me off to school on March 17 without a stitch of green clothing on and no advanced notice about what this would mean. Apparently, my elementary school took this holiday seriously…and I was pinched hard on the arm…without warning…while I was riding on the school bus and warned by the older kids that this was just the beginning of the torture for my transgression…all because I wasn’t wearing anything green.
Keep in mind that this was 1975 when students pinching other students in school was not just allowed but apparently celebrated!
As you can imagine, by the time I arrived at school, I was in a panic and in tears. One school employee tried to console me by pointing out that my eyes were green, but since that hadn’t seemed to matter to the meany on the school bus who had pinched me, I was not to be comforted.
A Green Construction Paper Shamrock
But then I got to my classroom and my teacher, a lovely lady named Ms. Ingham, was prepared with some green construction paper shamrocks and she promptly pinned one to my dress, assuring me with a smile that this paper shamrock would save me from any more brutality.
And you know what? It worked! That green paper shamrock, and a kind teacher with foresight, saved the day for a scared and terrified little girl. I was able to bravely face the day, as no one else was allowed to pinch me since I was, in fact, now wearing green.
The Paper Shamrocks of Your Life
That wasn’t the last time in life I would face situations where I hadn’t quite “gotten the memo” and ended up feeling out of place and vulnerable and in need of just one person to come through with understanding and a friendly smile.
“You don’t forget the paper shamrocks of your life, the kind gestures from others right when you need them.”
In the end, this is what Jesus does for us. But it is also what he expects us to do for others—to be watchful of each other, look for the scared, hurting, and uncomfortable, and just reach out. It doesn’t have to be a huge or expensive solution to all of someone’s problems, but just a small “I see your struggle” that can mean the most.
Hand someone a paper shamrock today (Or at the very least, DON’T pinch them)! The little things mean the most.
Written by Brenda Newman, Director of Business Operations at His Way