Karen Klein Grace
WORDS FROM W.W. June 22, 2012
What would you do if you had been sitting on a school bus and been mercilessly teased by some classmates about your height, or your weight, or your stuttering problem, or some other personal difficulty that had a way of making you feel like half of a person? Some of us went through experiences like that…eighth graders tormenting the new sixth grader on the bus…obnoxious varsity athletes saying inappropriate things to an introverted young lady…bullies making fun of the math whiz…sometimes the school bus was the worst part of the school day.
Most of us, however, were infuriated at the completely different level by the viral video of a 68 year old, hard-of-hearing, grandmother of eight lady named Karen Klein. A school bus monitor in New York, she was tormented worse than the worst belittling of any political campaign commercial by four middle school male students. A fifth student videoed the torture on his cell phone, and then posted it.
The story hit the major news telecasts, and a fund was started to send Karen Klein on a vacation. The fund has raised over $450,000. Obviously the incident touched two nerves- one of outrage and the other of generosity.
Karen Klein’s sense of forgiveness and grace has risen to the surface in the midst of this. Whereas, many of us might be mentally constructing some gallows, she has voiced her hope that no criminal charges be issued. Perhaps the most appropriate discipline, she suggests, would be a one year ban on riding the school bus. The school district is weighing what the consequences should be for the students involved.
The situation has raised to the surface something that doesn’t get talked about very often, and that is, generational discomfort and disrespect. Too often there are inappropriate words and actions said or done b y adults towards the youngest generations. Hang around a mall long enough and you’ll hear some adult griping about sagging pants, ear-ringed guys, or inappropriately dressed young ladies. But, on the other side, watch a young adult who gets stuck behind a senior citizen driving five miles under the speed limit and the reaction is unbelievable impatience.
“Karen Klein grace” is an element that someone should write a book about. A grace that forgives, and encourages caring for one another even after mistreatment has occurred. A grace that is open to hearing what is going on in the other person’s life, even though I have a physical hearing problem. It’s a grace that has been through the flames (Her son committed suicide ten years ago.), and knows the depths a life might fall to, but the hope that a life can also rise back to.
It’s interesting that this story broke the week after I preached about the passage in James 3:1-12, about the power and potential of our words. It’s a reminder of the damage they can cause, or the joy they can help create.
I’m sure that as Karen Klein journeys with her grand-kids to Disney World on a vacation that has been given to her, there will be a degree of sadness. To realize that the Magic Kingdom experience is because of the troubling words of a few adolescents will not be forgotten by her.
I pray that her sense of being a grace-filled and gracious person will remain as clear within her heart and life.
Christianity, Faith, Grace, Parenting, Story, The Church, Uncategorized
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