An incident occurred at work that reminded me of my eldest brother Oscar. His mild-mannered nature often made people think he was weak and cowardly, but that was far from the truth. He demonstrated a kind of power and strength that I never recognized until now.
Two other brothers, one older than I and the other younger, were pranksters. They loved making mischief, taking great pleasure in disrupting whatever we found enjoyable. The only one of my parents' eleven children they couldn't upset was Oscar. No matter what they did, hide his comics books (he always had a stash they didn't know about); mess with his 45rpm (45s and LPs that were valuable he kept hidden in a place no one ever found), etc., etc., they couldn't disturb his peace of mind.
I remember one evening when our parents were out, these two mischief makers decided to play a trick on Oscar by sprinkling sugar all over his dinner while he was upstairs getting a comic book to read while he ate. The two hid in the shadows of the living room smiling to each other waiting for the desired outcome of their plan. Oscar came downstairs, sat at the table with his comic book and said, "I know what y'all did to my food, but I'm going to eat it anyway!" and with a smile on his face he did. With their plan backfiring in their face, the two culprits angrily stomped upstairs to their bedroom.
When co-workers began to play similar pranks on me, I heard the words of Romans 12:18 - "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." As I meditated on its meaning and application to my situation, I remembered how Oscar handled our prankster brothers and followed his example.
When teaching tools and supplies important to my work, began to disappear I stopped leaving them in the classroom; I take them home with me each night. When access to shared materials were denied (phonic cards, CDs, CD Player etc.) me, I waited till after school and made personal copies for my own use and brought my own CD player. And when I discovered notes and progress reports to the parents were being removed from my students' cubbies (my shift ends before the children are picked up), I started coming to work early so I can greet the parents when they bring their children to school and hand deliver notes and progress reports.
To some this course of action may seem unnecessarily painstaking. It very well may be, but the results are worth it. My employer is at peace because she doesnít have to waste valuable time trying to resolve petty issues between employees; Iím at peace because Iím able to do my job without interruption; and my mischief making coworkers have been stilled, at least for a season.
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