Report Time

Church newsletter article for 26th July 2011

Being the husband of a teacher I am aware that this time of year is report writing time, that stressful period when teachers have to write constructive analyses of the progress or otherwise of their pupils. On the whole I look back to my reports with satisfaction, but there was one set of reports which still grate, my PE and Games reports written by one particular teacher. Ok, I admit it, I am not the most athletic of people outside of running & cycling. Not a team sports person. But I tried. I tried hard. Yet this particular teacher didn’t see this, all he saw was someone who was not sporty, and he wasn’t reticent in pointing out my failings. Bitter? Me?!

For some children writing reports is a dream; those who are bright both in intellect and personality. The challenge comes when it is time to do the write up of ‘that child’ (every class has one). Gone are the days when you get away with declaring they are thick or socially inept. In the current culture teachers have to couch their criticisms in positive terms, and being in a family of teachers, I know the euphemisms. Here are some examples I found on the web for fun:

  • “writes independently” -leader in illicit note growing
  • “writes creatively” – work bears no resemblance to the Queen’s English
  • “enjoys acting” – he’s the class clown
  • “listens with open mind”  – open to every distraction
  • “has an inquiring mind” – can never find him
  • “enjoys extra-curricula activities” – he’s a delinquent
  • “tries hard” – he’s thick as two planks
  • “a lively boy” – thoroughly disruptive
  • “has made good progress” – if you think the work is bad now, you should have seen it a year ago
  • “a sensitive child” – never stops whining

Being in a house at the moment with a teacher writing reports as if her life depended on it has got me wondering, if God did reports on churches, what would ours look like? Of course we do have examples of this in the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation where Jesus gives feedback on seven churches. Maybe today as we celebrate what God has done for us as a family with our special celebration offering, and look forward to the accompanying meal next week, it would be good to reflect with God on how well we have responded to him.

I also wonder what he might have to say if he wrote a report on me as an individual? Of course, one day we will find out, on that day when Jesus returns and pronounces judgement on the living and the dead. The good news, of course, is that if we have placed our faith in him, then that judgement has been brought forward and already pronounced, ‘this is my child whom I love and with whom I am well pleased!’ Let’s strive to live up to the report that has already been written.

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