"I’m Tryna Be a Christian"

An interesting situation presented itself to me recently. Some students concerned that a fellow classmate was not living up to the DOZJA ideals came to the office to lodge a complaint.

You see, this student was reportedly using some language or some words that her fellow classmates did not think to be in keeping with self-respect. Our core values at DOZJA teach our students that respect GOES. That means, they respect God, Others, the Environment and Self. This classmate, they felt, was not respecting herself and her classmates had too much self-respect to allow for someone to speak just any old way around them.

The accused classmate, in her defense, said that she was not using the words that they thought she was using. When she got upset, she would use words that resembled curse words. Her classmates were adamant however that she was indeed cursing, and they were having none of it. Even if she is not cursing, they opined, it was way too close to words that they should not be using.

Fearing that this may be a case where her classmates might be ganging up on her, I asked her to name some of the students, among those present, that she considered to be her closest friends. The accused named around four students. The others were asked to excuse themselves from the office.

The four who remained were asked to explain to their friend, why they thought that the terms that she was using were not appropriate. That’s when I got a response that I’ll probably never forget. One of her classmates and closest friends looked her square in the face and said “listen, I'm tryna be a Christian, I don’t need my ears hearing that kind of language, I'm tryna go to heaven.” Please forgive my pejorative English, but I had to write it how she said it. I almost cracked up. However, trying to be the straight-faced principal and disciplinarian in the situation, I kept my cool but thought that what that student said was so profound.

How many of us are truly striving to make it to heaven? How many of us are brave enough to separate ourselves from influences and relationships that would deter us from truly being Christians? How many of us are truly trying to be Christians?

This student, further proving the sincerity of her Christianity, shared with her classmate that she loves her and that she is one of her best friends, but she has to do better. Her other friends expressed similar sentiments, and, in the end, I invited them to pray for their classmate. The experience was capped with some of the sincerest prayers that I’ve had the privilege of hearing as these students asked God to help themselves and their friend to live as He would want them to live.

A brief reminder of why I’m a principal in a Christian school and a stronger reminder of what it means to be a Christian. A little child shall indeed lead them.

Below is a picture of the students as they prayed for their friend and classmate: