Friday, August 22, 2014

Time to Throw Out the Red Pen!

After days of researching information from the local library, I have put my finishing touches on my essay and it was ready to hand in. I always prided myself on my ability to write and write well. With this latest assignment from my English teacher, I had to dig deeper than a simple narrative from one of my favorite memories, or to step beyond the ability to debate the merits of some injustice in the world. I had to research information on the topic for my research paper. If you remember before the days of the internet and computers, this involved using encyclopedias, magazines, and books from the library. It was using a card catalog and manually going on a treasure hunt to find the elusive book you needed for your paper. Often times, that book was missing when you went to find it.

Probably checked out by someone else, or simply misplaced for the time being. So I had to go back and look up other books I might be able to use. There was a requirement to find at least three sources and list them on your cite works page and to make sure you didn't copy down things unless you were using them as a quote. Once the researching was complete, then you had to compile all that information into about 4 or 5 pages of what you wanted to say. I remember mine was on the Bermuda Triangle and the mystery surrounding it. I thought I had a real winner, even claiming I wanted to be one of those people that were "taken" in hopes of explaining what was really happening.

But turning in the paper was only adding more stress to what I was feeling. I had hoped for a decent grade and one that was not filled with the dreaded red pen. If you have been in a public school setting, you can probably remember those "red pen" papers. They were graded in red pen and often included hints or suggestions on how to correct your paper, from spelling and punctuation errors, to how to start a decent paragraph and included the one we still dread today, the perfect thesis statement.

I did get my paper back and was pleased by my grade, but it was still marred by those red pen corrections on it. Oh how I would have loved to get a paper back with nothing on it but a perfect A and nothing more. But then again wouldn't we all?

Life is filled with those daily papers we are required to submit. It might be running our kids to school, paying bills, heading to work in rush hour traffic, or even caring for someone who is sick and can't help themselves. Each of us every single day has an opportunity to see how we can manage through our day in hopes not necessarily for a perfect paper, but at least one with less red pen marks than we did before.

In a world where lately every where you look you can find "red pen" marks. Whether it is some crisis happening in a country far from ours, from school shootings, or what our current president is doing to help in any situation, why a celebrity who has virtually everything he could want, takes his own life without explanation; why people begin rioting and arguing in cities of what injustice they feel the police are handing out, and it seems like the more we plug in, the more "red pen" marks there are to see.

I believe we need to be the ones to make the world a better place by finding ways we can eliminate those red pen marks in life. We need to step outside our own doors and try to be better neighbors. We need to realize that there are people hurting all around us and all they are searching for is validation that they mean something to anyone. We need to find ways to make this day better by making better choices instead of looking how we can play the blame game alongside everyone else. Choose your side. Take a stand.

We need to unite more and divide less.

We need to realize that people count, not what they may do that may cause us to judge them without knowing all the facts. If you trust the media in any form, to provide that for you, You are sadlybeing led astray.  News sells and they know it. So they will make sure you see only what they want you to see. But every day people are writing different stories that the media never shares. Stories that would show us that the world we live in isn't so bad after all.

I think we need to change our perspectives, open our eyes and change our focus. Lets start focusing on the good instead of the bad, and I guarantee you, we WILL find it.

There are people all around the world looking to make a difference. One that breeds an environment of love and not hate. One that offers joy instead of despair. One that helps instead of hurts. If you truly look hard enough you can find it.

I challenge everyone who reads this to share ONE thing you did to throw out the red pen in the world. Leave a comment below so we can help change people's mind sets about what is happening around us. I know we won't make this world a peaceful place, but perhaps we can shift our minds on things above instead of the evil in the world today. If only for today.

Like Chuck Swindoll so eloquently shared in his devotional this morning, "But I've got a hunch that when the score is added up one day as we stand before our Lord, many of us will wish we'd played a lot more Risk . . . and a lot less Trivial Pursuit." What are you willing to "Risk" today?


Sandra said...

Glad you got your essay in, and yes, it would have been nice to get it back with no red markings.

My husband is in college right now and when he was taking his English class he had a lot of research papers to do and lots of red markings on it as well LOL

Hope you have a wonderful weekend Kat :)

Sharon said...

Ugh, those dreaded red pens. When my boys were in school, one of their teachers used a blue marker. She felt like it would be less discouraging to the kids. I don't know if it worked or not.

I can remember one time when I was in elementary school (in the Stone Age), and I was returning from being sick for several days. There was a science test that I knew nothing about, nor had I read any of the material that it was on. My teacher told me to take it anyway. Well, when I got it back, it had a huge RED D+ on it. I cried when I begged the teacher to give me a second chance. And then he said, "Why? Seems like you did pretty good." Do you know that he had changed that bad grade into a big fat "A"?!

The Lord is like that. Changing our bad marks into good ones. Being graciously kind. I think we need to practice being more like Him as we deal with this messed-up and "red-marked" world of ours.