“Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.

 “I came because I met someone who had no marks,” said Punchinello.

“I know. She told me about you.”

“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?”

The maker spoke softly. “Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.”

“What?”

“The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.” “I’m not sure I understand.”

Eli smiled. “You will, but it will take time. You’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.”

 Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground.

“Remember,” Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door, “you are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.”

from pages 30,31 of You are Special by Max Lucado    

The children and I were all gathered on the couch. I pulled You are Special off of our shelf. We snuggled in together and settled in for our story. How timely and appropriate this choice was for us, this particular day. You see, I have been carefully trying to instill a sense of honor in my children. It is slow going.  

It all started when I began slowing working my way through: Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in  you and your kids! by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  I am still slowly working through this book. I was struck by their definition of honor: Treating people as special; Doing more than expected; And having a good attitude- adapted from page 13.

Treating people as special….

I realized how often my children are NOT treating each other as special, as a prized friend, as someone very precious.  In fact, in some ways, they have been the ones “putting marks” on the other with their unkindnesses and selfish ways.

I read this description from page 20:   

“We teach our children that being a Rivera is special. We’re not just out for ourselves. We work as a team. When a job needs to be done, the Rivera team pulls together… We treat each other as special. Meanness is not acceptable because it doesn’t fit our identity. Angry outbursts require an apology because hurtful words aren’t consistent with the idea that we value each other.”  

Meanness is not acceptable because it doesn’t fit our identity…hurtful words aren’t consistent with the idea that we value each other…  

I have been working to instill in the children- that the Borgers don’t act that way. We act like- this (and then I give an example). We treat each other as special. Each person is very special and we must treat each other in that way.   

I was surprised- when- after a few days- one of the little ones reported an incident to me and informed me that a certain child was not treating a certain other child as special because they said/did this.  It reminded once again- the life-giving importance of my formative instruction in their precious lives. I must renew again- my mind- that I can instruct them in the way they should go. What I had shared was so small- and yet it was powerfully internalized by my three year old.

This is sobering, indeed.

So- when I gathered those children- and chose that specific book… I was hoping for impact.

I was unprepared for the quiet concentration that was held by the five children old enough to comprehend the story. I was unprepared for the impact that God’s love- touching little hearts with grace, with mercy, was having in that space, on my couch, together.

 Each one…”you are special.”  

Indeed- each one- “fearfully and wonderfully made”, a precious gift, a blessing from the Lord, crafted for His purpose and His glory. Their paths- lights to shine in the darkness of their generation.  

You are Special because of Who made you.

When we work to treat each other in light of that truth… we come a little closer to showing the world- Jesus.

“This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy might be full.”

Wee Sing Bible Songs #19