Be Kind to One Another

0 comments Posted on August 1, 2016

by Sophie Hudson

Late one Thursday morning I got a text from one of last year’s senior girls. Mamie is a freshman at Auburn now, and her text informed me that she was stopping by my office after she visited with some of her high school friends during lunch.

Mamie popped in my office around 12:15. Several other folks from her high school class were with her. The afternoon was turning into an unplanned mini-reunion, and when several of the guys from their grade walked through my door about five minutes later, I looked at that group of college freshmen, closed my computer, and reminded myself that people trumped whatever happened to be on my to-do list.

For the next two hours they took turns telling me about their classes, professors, classmates, grades, and date parties. I chimed in from time to time, making sure to take a moment to remind them that LEGGINGS ARE STILL NOT PANTS (I am certain that this phrase will be on my tombstone or, at the very least, on the front of the program for my memorial service), but mostly I enjoyed my front-row seat at The Freshmen Show.

It was the biggest blast.

GiddyUpEuniceEvery time I looked over at Mamie, though, I could tell that we weren’t even scratching the surface of what she really wanted to talk about.

By the time everyone started to file out and head off in different directions, it was getting close to the end of the school day. We all exchanged hugs (again), and I had just shut my door and settled into my desk chair when my phone dinged at me.

It was a text from Mamie.

Can I come back to the school tomorrow and talk to you?

It’s fine if you’re too busy. Just let me know.

I looked at my calendar and realized that the day was pretty full, so I texted her with the only option I had.

You want to come up here early-ish? 8? Too early? I have something at 9:30.

She answered me maybe three minutes later.

I can be there at 8!

I wish that I could tell you that our conversation was deeply profound, but it wasn’t. It was just real life. We covered topics from choices to identity to flare jeans to Jesus to vulnerability to Instagram. Occasionally they asked for advice, but mostly they just wanted to share all the stuff piled up in their heads and their hearts. So I listened. Sometimes I disagreed with them, but mainly I tried to affirm them. We laughed a whole bunch. And we prayed.

All too often we fall into thinking that if we’re going to have a voice in the lives of younger women, then we need to have all the answers. We need to have earned our certificate as Wiser Older Person. We need to have memorized significant portions of the New Testament, and we need to have a strong theological position on the book of Romans that we’re prepared to share in parallel bullet points.

They really just desire our genuine time and attention.

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