Crystal loved school very much. Every night she put her homework in to her backpack and selected an outfit to wear the next day. Every morning she woke before everyone else and got herself dressed. Her favorite place in the whole wide world was her classroom.
At school Crystal quietly read books to herself during silent reading time. She sat crisscross applesauce on the rug during lessons, and her hand was first in the air to answer every question. She completed all assignments and checked her work, making sure there were no mistakes. She followed the rules and never got in trouble. Crystal knew she was the perfect student.
One evening before bedtime, Crystal’s father asked her to bring her homework to him to check it over, but she was apprehensive. “Daddy, are you sure you’ll remember to put my homework back into my backpack when you are done checking it?” “Yes, sweetie, I’ll try my best to remember, but you should double-check just in case. Now off to bed—it’s past your bedtime.”
That night it snowed. It covered the grass and the streets; it covered the branches and the cars. When Crystal awoke, the sky was gray, the world was white, and she wondered if she would see her teacher. Crystal yelled, “Mommy, is there school today?”
Quickly, her mother entered the room. “Yes, Crystal, there is school, but it’s delayed. Get dressed and eat your breakfast. I’ll see if I can get a neighbor to give us a ride so that we don’t have to walk. It is very cold outside.”
After breakfast Crystal put on her favorite sweater with the kitty on it and her red corduroy pants. She put on two pairs of socks and her black winter boots. Then, she went to the closet to find her hat and mittens. She grabbed her pink, puffy coat, and when everything was on, only her eyes, cheeks, and nose were visible. She sat on the couch, a little hot, a little sweaty, but ready. All she needed was her backpack.
Crystal sprang up from the couch and ran to her parents’ room. As she reached for her backpack, her mother called, “Our ride is outside, so it’s time to go.” Crystal ran out of her parents’ room, through the hall, into the living room, and out the front door.
As the car turned into the parking lot of school, Crystal looked down at her backpack. “Before I go inside, I should check to see if Daddy put my homework back into in my backpack,” she thought. Crystal reached for her bag, pulled it up and placed it on her lap. She opened the large pouch, but there was nothing inside. She unzipped the smaller pouch; still there was nothing. As the car stopped, she became frantic. “Mommy, my homework isn’t in my backpack! I can’t go to school if I don’t have my homework! What would my teacher think?”
Crystal’s mother tried to reason with Crystal, “Honey, you’ve never forgotten your homework.” Crystal began to cry. “You’re a good student. Your teacher won’t mind if you miss one day.” Her crying became louder. “You can bring it in tomorrow; it’ll be OK.” Her sobs turned into screams. “These nice people are helping us by giving us a ride. It’s time to go inside.”
Crystal began shouting: “I CANNOT GO INSIDE! I CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL! I AM NOT PREPARED! I HAVE TO GO HOME!”
The car ride back home was silent except for Crystal’s partially muted sobs. Back inside their apartment Crystal and her mother had a serious conversation. Crystal tried to explain why she was upset, but her mother insisted it was her responsibility to be completely prepared. “Crystal,” her mother finally said, “You were careless. Listen, the Bible says in Galatians 6:5, “For every man shall bear his own burden (KJV).” Your teacher holds you alone accountable for your homework.” She knew her mommy was right.
The next morning Crystal and her mother trudged through the snow to school. As the sound of hard snow was crushed underfoot, Crystal felt nervous. She had never missed a day and was afraid her teacher would be upset. Upon arriving at Crystal’s classroom, her teacher bent down and asked, “Crystal, where were you yesterday?”
Crystal looked up at her mother. Her mother repeated, “Yes, Crystal, where were you yesterday?”
Crystal meekly replied, “I came to school yesterday, but when I got here I realized I had forgotten my homework so I went back home. I was afraid to come to school without it.” Compassion filled her teacher’s face, “Oh Crystal, it’s ok that you forgot your homework. I would rather you came to school without your homework, than stay home because you forgot it.”
Crystal looked down at the floor and began to cry. Grabbing some tissue, her teacher said, “Crystal, everyone makes mistakes; everyone forgets sometimes. That’s how we learn and grow.”
While wiping her eyes, Crystal hugged her mother and teacher. “May I go to the bathroom to wash my face?” she asked. Receiving approval, Crystal quickly scurried down the hall. When she returned, she took out her folder with her homework. Then she took out her pencil box with her pencils, scissors, and glue. Last, she put her backpack and coat away. As usual, Crystal was prepared for the school day. Sitting at the table, she remembered Proverbs 24:16, which says, “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (KJV). Crystal knew she had made a mistake, but she also knew she wouldn’t make the same careless mistake again.
What Do They Mean?
Apprehensive (adj): scared or worried that something will happen
Careless (adj): not paying attention to what you are doing or not making sure that a task that needs to be done is done.
Meek (adj): exhibiting gentle or calm behavior. Meekly (adverb) of Meek.
Reason (verb): to talk with another so as to influence actions or opinions
Relieved (verb): to be free from worry
Trudge (verb): to walk with a lot of effort or work
Visible (adj): all that can be seen
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