Making Ice Cream In 2nd Grade

randomlychad  —  August 21, 2012 — 16 Comments

'Batch 1 ready for the Ice Cream machine' photo (c) 2010, star5112 - license: boy is eight. Having been held back a year, he is just beginning second grade. After living those first eight years in one place, he’s moved, with his family, to a new house. And this means a new school, new teachers, new friends.

Like a suit of well-worn clothes, he wears a pinched, serious expression on his face. He is quiet, would rather go unnoticed, stay out of the way.

He has learned to stay out of the way.

Life is easier that way. It is easier to forego trying, than to try, and subsequently fail. So this boy lives quietly in his mind. It’s comfortable, and safe, there. He couldn’t verbalize it, but if he doesn’t try, there’s no one to disappoint.

Again, life is easier that way.

But he starts second grade with a glimmer of hope in his eyes. He makes a couple of friends (he’s never had many). Then one day, it happens.

The class is making ice cream. Each child must take a turn turning the crank on an old-fashioned ice cream machine.

On that still-warm not yet Fall day–the leaves still verdant on the trees–the children line up. The boy, red hair shining in the sun like fire, is neither first, nor last; he’s in the middle of the pack.

He doesn’t want to stand out, or draw attention to himself. So he blends in. Even at eight, he’s good at blending in.

Finally, his turn comes. He steps up, grabs ahold of the crank, gives it his all. His teacher says:

“Come on, Chad, even the girls can do better than that.”

The message of those words reinforces one he already lives:

You’re not good enough. You don’t have what it takes. Move on, let someone better do that.

How many moments like that have you had in your life? Did you have someone to help you interpret them?




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • That just makes me sad and mad. It seems that teachers of our generation were like that. I remember a girl in the 5th grade was late every day to school. Our teacher ridiculed her and made us a sing a song to her. I doubt it was the girl’s fault her mom brought her to school late every day.

    • Me, too, Larry--as I had nowhere to go with it. It lived, and festered, inside. And just served to reinforce what I was already hearing.

      The enemy was trying to take me out from an early age.

    • Ricky Anderson

      Chad, Larry and I just need addresses. We’ll take care of the rest.

      • Appreciate it, Ricky! But God’s got this. 🙂

      • Ricky, I actually talked to this girl about this at our, gasp, 25th high school reunion last year. It’s cool.

  • Yes, I’ve had moments like that as well. No, I didn’t have anyone to help me interpret them. Enter lack of self-confidence into my world that’s hard to tear down.

    I’m really enjoying these recent posts, Chad. Please don’t stop.

    • Exactly, Thomas--a lack of confidence, a tentativeness, an inhibition, a fear of shining.

      Because who are we, right, to think we have something to give?

      But, Thomas, the world needs your heart, and God made you to shine.

  • oh chad…man, this literally made me tear up. i can totally relate to the idea of just staying out of the way and to forego trying anything new for fear of failure and embarrassment.

    as a kid my mind was my refuge, too. well, it still is, but i’ve learned to take a risk here and there. i’ve spent my entire life playing it safe on most levels. i went to school, got good grades, stayed out of trouble (for the most part), went to college and got a “real” job afterward.

    of course, now i’m wrestling with anxiety, depression and an overwhelming restlessness that i am meant to do something more way way beyond myself.

    as usual -- great post!

    • Thanks, Tim! Thanks very much for reading!

      You are meant for more--much, much more.

      Here’s what I suggest: think back over such moments in your life, feel their impact, release them to God. Also ask Him to show where you agreed with the lies of those messages. Ask Him to show you where you still do. Turn it all over to Him.

      He is your Father, and He loves you--absolutely delights in you--more than you dare to believe.

      Live like you believe it now--because it’s absolutely true.

      • thanks so much for the encouragement, chad! i have been struggling with a lot of things lately, just dwelling on them and not letting go. i’ve been praying for the courage and strength to just let go and completely trust him. again, thank you.

        also -- you are meant for so much more, too!

        • Thanks, Tim! I’m just learning that. It’s an amazing, humbling, thing.
          I have an exercise for you:

          You may have seen it, but there’s a video of Derek Redmond on YouTube from the 1992 Olympics. I’d like you to watch it. As you do, imagine you are Derek--you’re running along through life, suffer an injury, and then--seemingly out of nowhere--your Father comes to your rescue.

          Watch it with those eyes, my friend.

          • chad, i watched the video. not sure how i had never seen it before but it was unbelievably moving. particularly viewing it through the lens you suggested. i fall, i hurt, i struggle, and yet my heavenly father always comes to my rescue.

            thanks for pointing me to the video, my friend.

  • As a shy, quiet, overweight kid I always tried to blend in with the crowd and not get noticed. While the teachers were always kind, my fellow classmates were not. One day, in 2nd or 3rd grade, one particular boy said he wanted to be my friend. He asked me to hold out my hand and then proceeded to scrape it with an old rusty nail. That one incident was just the beginning of many that lasted through high school. Moments like that taught me to be kind and to encourage others. Remembering where I’ve been and what I’ve been through gives me all the more desire to be different, to stand out from the crowd.

    • Denise, I’m sorry that happened, but am so moved by the response it provoked in you.

      God is in the business of redeeming everything. He’s so good!

  • Wow Chad. I don’t know how many moments I’ve had like that, but I’ve had quite a few. I think I’ve gotten better at calling out the negative voices in my head and even negativity from others. I’m so deeply, deeply sorry for your pain. But now you can take joy in your pain in that by sharing your pain you are giving others hope and encouragement!

    It is very brave and inspiring of you. It’s also what leaders do. That’s right. I’m calling out you, Mr. introvert as a leader.

    • Thanks, Jim! I appreciate that, and you, very much! The trick is not to buy into what the negative voices are saying--to not agree with them. Because when we do we risk short circuiting the work of God in our lives, and the freedom He wants us to walk in.

      Also, if I am indeed walking in my giftedness, or as some would say displaying my “glory,” I’m not ashamed of it anymore

      I am what I am by grace of God. I am who I am I because I am His son.