Published August 22, 2017

Shelia Shares
"I Can"

The story is told of a school administrator who went into a classroom to do an evaluation of the teacher. He arrived a bit late and everyone was at their desks writing furiously. He glanced at student papers as he walked through the aisles and was a bit concerned when he saw what they were writing.

"I can't learn to ride a bike."

"I can't forgive my brother for taking my things."

This administrator had been taught – and always believed – that we should focus on the positive. Why was this teacher asking students to write such negative things?

He walked toward the teacher's desk and she was also writing furiously. When he glanced at her paper, there were things like

"I can't get Johnny's parents to come in for a conference."

"I can't forgive that driver that just about ran me off the road."

Rather disturbed, the administrator waited. Finally, a timer went off and everyone stopped writing.

The teacher asked the students to fold their papers in half and put them in a box on her desk Then she put the cover on the box, sealed it with packing tape and carrying the box, led the students down the hallway and out the door and back to the school trash dumpster. Intrigued, the administrator followed and watched..

The teacher had a ceremony as she laid the "I Can't" box to rest in the dumpster. She had the students join hands as she prayed.

"Father, we gather as friends to honor the memory of 'I Can't.' While he was with us here on earth — he touched the lives of everyone. We have provided 'I Can't' with a final resting place. He is survived by his brothers and sisters, 'I Can', 'I Will', and 'I'll do it right now.' May 'I Can't' rest in peace and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence."

The rest of the school year, any time a student said, "I Can't," they were reminded of the burial. They were encouraged to use the "I Can" and the "I Will."

May I encourage each of us to remember Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

- Shelia

* Story ideas taken from devotional.
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