Mr. Hosier had carefully planned the lab. Emails had been going back and forth for weeks. Cameras and the news crew were scheduled to arrive. We were excited to showcase our Physics students and Mr. Hosier’s class on KBOI’s special segment “Leaders in Learning.”
(As an aside, whenever we engage the broader community in this way, we work really hard to put out best foot forward; for a random family sitting in Middleton, ID, the KBOI segment might be the first and only time they not only hear about our school, but actually get a window into one of our classrooms. What a huge opportunity!)
To that end, Mr. Hosier and I – weeks prior to the news crew actually arriving – had agreed to ask our juniors to wear their formal uniforms on the day of the filming even though it was a Thursday, typically a non-uniform day. We expected a little grumbling, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.
And then it became a much bigger deal.
Our varsity boys basketball team made the state tournament, and the administrative team declared the filming day to be Spirit Day: the one day of the whole year when the entire student body can wear jeans and logo t-shirts to school.
Except our Physics students. Who were expected to be in their formal uniforms: shirts, ties, blazers, kilts, and all.
I expected the pushback from students to be significant. Despite that, Mr. Hosier and I decided to hold the line. We thought it was important to represent our school to the community audience as best we could.
Mr. Hosier made the announcement to his students and I braced for impact. I waited.
The weeks leading up to the filming day were strangely quiet. The week of the event was similarly quiet. The day arrived, and the Physics students did too, looking like champs in their formal uniforms, despite the fact the entire rest of the K-12 student body was wearing jeans and t-shirts! Mr. Hosier and I heard nary a word: there was no petition, walk out, sit in, or anything similar. Our students quietly and respectfully did what we asked of them.
1 Samuel 14 tells the story of Jonathan and his armor-bearer. The two were scouting a Philistine garrison when Jonathan had what would seem an unwise idea: the two Israelites would show themselves to the garrison, and if the Philistines came out, just the two of them would attempt the impossible: they would fight the entire Philistine garrison. It is the armor-bearer’s response that has always captured my imagination: “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you….” The young man was ready to follow Jonathan into an almost certain death because he completely, whole-heartedly trusted his leadership.
The dominant culture talks a lot about leadership, especially as it pertains to activism; however, we as Christians by necessity must be different. We should be equally thoughtful when we talk about being led, submitting to those authorities who God has placed over us. How many leaders do we have in our own lives that we trust enough to tell, “Go and do all that is in your heart. I am with you!”?
Our Physics class didn’t say it exactly that way, but if their respectful silence could speak, it surely would have said, “Go and do all that is in your heart, for we are with you!”