Are–or were–you a good kid? I was. It’s easy for parents and others, but is that good? You decide. Here’s my story.
The Good Kid
The crimson trickle was slow at the onset.
drip, drip, drip
Soon, a flow of red began to fall. He quickly grasped at his nose. His hand slid underneath his bowed head, forming a cup of sorts. I didn’t see the ensuing havoc because he quickly ran away.
It had only been a slight touch on his nose. We were playing, simply playing on the playground during recess. My nine year old hand had seen older adults perform the “gonna get your nose” trick, and I had determined to mimic their actions. After all, little kids do play the game “Monkey see, monkey do” quite well. I was no different.
What child doesn’t love recess? Mouths water, legs tap in anticipation, and hands wring at the thought of going outside. There’s a jubilation, knowing that freedom is within reach. Certainly recess ranks in the top three for answers concerning “What was the best part of your day, kiddo?”
Good Gone Wrong
What had been a longed for, much anticipated, favorite time of day, however, was quickly souring this particular day. The blood flow on the schoolyard was a small indicator. However, the call to the principal’s office was an in-your-face, something’s wrong, huge red-flashing-lights indicator.
They were having trouble stopping the flow. An ambulance had been called.
I was scared.
Although I was concerned for his well-being, I was more afraid for me.
The thought of getting in trouble had my knees knocking. Oh, I’m not in love with writing that. The selfishness in it is like nails on a chalkboard. However, it’s proof that even “good” kids have heart conditions.
I had never been called to the principal’s office before, at least not for correction. I was the “good kid.” A rule follower. I didn’t like to get in trouble, so I didn’t. Work was always completed on time and to the best of my ability, and chatter was kept in tow.
“Kristi. Come with me, please,” said the principal. She was not smiling.
Tears flooded my eyes as I began the trek toward the office. It was only twenty, maybe thirty, steps to her office, a short, but not so sweet, journey. This day it felt like 5,000 miles.
By the time I sat in the awaiting chair, a muted, light green hard, elementary-sized version of a chair, my tears were flooding her office. I might as well have been in a police interrogation room. It felt that bad to my nine year old self.
I was about to get in trouble and my selfish desires were screaming. Central to the theme was me. The boy was nowhere to be found in the midst of my squirming thoughts.
The principal’s words rung loud and clear.
Why had I done this?
Why did I hit the boy in the nose?
Words flew through my brain in record time. They were scattered but gathering quickly.
I didn’t mean to.
It was only play.
Did I really hit him that hard?
I had no idea. I am so sorry!
No words came out. Not a single syllable was said.
When the Good Kid Goes Silent
Silence ensued as my downcast eyes stared holes through the floor. The principal awaited my response. It never came. There were only tears and the insidious slobber that accompanies it.
I don’t remember everything that happened for the remainder of the afternoon other than the boy’s mom came to help and his nose did eventually quit bleeding. Thankfully, he was okay. I do remember that I cried…a lot. Bucket loads of tears fell that day, enough to make Niagara Falls overflow during a drought.
After school I was whisked off to the awaiting slumber party for one of my classmates. What should have been a happy occasion, and was for all the other girls, was not enjoyable for me. I cried often. There were no more buckets in the county to capture the flow of my tears.
The principal jingled. (It was a small school where everyone knew everyone…and three generations to boot.) She knew where I was that evening and called to reassure me that the boy was okay. I should not worry and go, enjoy the party. That was nice of her, but I was already bruised from the whole ordeal. With puffy, red eyes and a snotty nose, my “good” kid heart recoiled. I had missed the mark of being “good enough”.
What Does Good Kid Mean?
Here I am, 35+ years later, forever glad that the bleeding stopped and sorry for the pain unintentionally inflicted by my very hands. However, the questions continue to linger. WHY didn’t I speak up in the principal’s office? WHY didn’t I let them know it was absolutely an accident and there was no malicious intent in my heart that day? Why didn’t I let the principal know I was sorry? Why didn’t I state my case, support my cause, be a lawyer in my own court of affairs?
Even more so…why didn’t I care about the boy more than myself?
Because selfishness sometimes wears a mask. And “good” kids have need for Jesus, too.
We all, rule followers, drunkards, “good” kids and troubled, have heart conditions. It doesn’t matter how good the package looks on the outside, our hearts need a touch from God. Concerning salvation, “good kid” status can be a hinderance because it hinges on our works and power–not the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23 KJV
It certainly starts with repentance for sins, but some stop there. They work hard to be good, reading their Bible, praying, attending church, and being involved in every committee possible. They are the adult version of a “good” kid.
But what about those quiet moments, when the “good” kid grown is all alone, just me and Jesus? What do we do then?
As an adult, I’ve had to fight that “good kid” mentality over and over. I want to look good and wear the mask, meanwhile my heart beats What about me? In offense, in frustration, in hurtful situations, I’m more concerned about me than those “bloody-nosed boys” involved.
It’s been a battle. It’s been ugly. But as the Great Physician has performed heart surgery, more little trinkets of ugliness have been revealed and healed. Selfishness and its friends have been unmasked by the very counsel of His Holy Spirit.
Today, I think of others more highly than myself. (Phil. 2:3)
It’s good. It’s been a relief. It’s freedom. It’s a work-in-progress. And it’s dead-center in His will. (Interested in more of my story? Read here.)
Are You a Good Kid?
Are you a good kid? You’ll know if you are. Do you recoil when turmoil hits? Do you lick your wounds in the heat of a battle and converse more about self, your hurt, or your offended self than God or others? Those may be clues.
Today is the day. Allow the Holy Spirit to unmask the good kid in you. Allow Him to reveal and heal those areas where darkness cleverly reigns. He’s faithful. And you’ll find freedom.
A Prayer for the Good Kid
The single most productive prayer I’ve ever prayed, and continue to pray frequently is this:
Lord, show me my heart. If there’s anything in it that’s not of You, reveal it. Heal it, Lord. Heal me that I might worship You.
The prayer is based on Psalm 139:23-24.
Always, always, always…in His faithfulness, God has answered that prayer.
Sometimes selfishness wears a mask. But then again, as we allow Him, the mask is removed. Press in and press on to maturity today, my friend. Consider the prayer. The Lord is worthy.