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The Broken Crayon Bucket

by anon.

(Found on Facebook)

Author Unknown

 

     In my classroom, we have a crayon bucket. Its job is to hold two kinds of crayons: the broken ones and the forgotten ones.

     When I started teaching it didn’t take me long to figure out that crayons are hard for five-year-olds to keep up with! Before many weeks went by, I had a floor full of random crayons. And that bothered me! All during the school year, I would find crayons in the floor and I would hold them up and no one would claim them, even when they looked through their near-empty pouches.

     So I started placing the lost crayons on my desk, and that collection eventually turned into a basket.

And then another thing started to happen all those years ago that bothered me… when we went to do a special art activity, I’d say something like, “Get out your red...” and immediately several people would chorus “I don’t have a red! It’s gone, teacher!”

     One day the light clicked—the crayon basket, of course! It had all the reds we needed. I started a new procedure that has been tried and true since my first year. We use the crayon basket for when someone is missing a color. The rule is if we are missing a color, we don’t yell out. We just go to the crayon basket and pick out what we need, and the best part of all is… we get to keep it! And do you know that the child who was so forgetful with her crayons earlier takes that “new” red one from the basket, uses it carefully, and then  puts it in her pouch and is sure to zip up her pouch this time so that she doesn’t lose it?

     The rule at the crayon basket is that we can only stay there for five seconds, because we are guaranteed to find the needed color in five seconds. You know why? Because after sixteen years, my crayon basket has become a BUCKET! It’s full of every color we would ever need, because this teacher can’t find it in her heart to throw away a lost crayon.  A lot of crayons get forgotten, until they are needed.

     There’s another kind of crayon in the bucket…and that’s the broken crayon. Now, broken crayons are the most special ones of all! They may not be as pretty as the new ones; they may be missing their paper, their shine, and their points, but they have a very special job.

     Many students come to school these days with certain learning, physical, and emotional needs. For a number of  reasons, they don’t have the fine motor abilities to color and cut and write like what society expects for a “typical” kindergartner. Some of them have never even held a crayon, so it’s hard for them to learn how to fill a picture with color. 

     I remember the first time I had a student with a physical need that required more practice than what I was providing in the general setting. The wonderful occupational therapist for the county came in and looked over the workspace to help me and give me pointers on supporting the student with writing, coloring, and other fine motor skills. And guess what she did first?

     She took the brand new crayons and BROKE them. One by one, as she was just talking to me, she stood there breaking away, and I could only look on in horror! Finally, I found some words in my head and yelped, “What are you doing?!?”  

And our awesome therapist said words that have stuck with me…she kept on breaking and she said, “Paige, broken crayons make weak hands strong.”

Broken crayons make weak hands strong.

     Kids who can’t hold a pencil can grip a broken crayon. They have to bear down and hold it tightly with correct finger positioning when their crayon is broken.

     I know that  some people reading this today feel like an old broken or forgotten crayon. You may be broken down by physical health problems or relationship issues. Or you may be chipped away by little things of life every day…a cruel word chips here, a busy schedule nicks there, until one day you look in the mirror and you are only half of the person that you thought you were.

     I have great news for you, friends.

You are needed. God has an area of your life designed just for you. There is a need around you, and you are the perfect person to fill that void. There may be “weak hands” in your circle, or even outside of your comfort zone, and your brokenness might be exactly what those hands need to hold on tightly to in order to become strong. 

And if you feel forgotten? I can tell you with certainty that He did not forget you. 

You are never out of His sight, and He has something great in store for you! 

Here is what He says to His people in Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV):

“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

You know those crayons in the lost and found bucket? They’re really not forgotten, either. They are just ready to be used. Just like you, my friend!

 

 




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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13