Thursday, 28 April 2011 01:39

Bigger is Not Always Better


Like most kids my age I hated school.  For me it wasn't the mass of homework or the boring teachers.  It wasn't getting up every morning, every single morning, at 6:45 a.m., early, every, single, morning.  And it didn't bother me walking five miles to school through the New England blizzards, or the hurricanes, the torrential downpours, snowstorms, coastal floods or Nor’ Easterner’s.

I didn’t even mind not being chosen for the football, basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis or chess teams. 
I hated school because of David Cohen.
Cohen lived up the street from us and everyday we walked along the winding dirt path across Lewis Lake in order to cut through the golf course fence on the way to school. And everyday Cohen poked fun at me. “Those red clam-diggers make you look like a clown,” (I hated my mother for making me wear those).  “Your hair looks like a Brillo Pad.  Your nose is so big you look like a pelican.  I’m gonna get all the kids to call you Pelican Laz, or Laz with the pelican Shnaz,’’ and other assorted amenities.
I tried walking to school the long way around, but that didn’t help.  Cohen would be waiting for me on the school steps, “Here comes pelican face Lazarus. What’s the matter Lazy Laz, couldn’t find your way to school because your big nose got in the way?”
For a couple of weeks I even got up earlier so I could get to school before Cohen. But that didn’t help. Cohen would be waiting for me in school lunch room. “Hey Laz, don’t sneeze, you’ll blow up the whole school! Move over, your nose is blocking my sun.”
Actually, having a big nose is not that bad, if you look at people straight on. The problem is when they see you from the side. It’s best to keep moving around, and never sit in the middle of the table, or they’ll see you from both sides. If you really get in trouble, you can pretend you are asleep and hide your face under your arms.
 It wouldn’t have been so bad if Cohen wasn’t so popular. All the kids hung around with him and he was even meaner when those other kids were there. Like the time I went to get my books and Cohen and the gang were in my way. I got so nervous walking to my locker that I dropped my books all over the hallway. Cohen said that I must be some kind of an alien and that everyone should stay away unless they get infected with my “coodies.” I hated school.
So I came up with a plan to get on Cohen’s good side. I told everyone in school what a great guy Cohen is and how he makes our school a great place. I repeated all the cool things Cohen says, and acted like him to be cool. I’d do anything for Cohen. Buy cigarettes, carry books, skip class. I even stole some candy just because Cohen thought it would be cool. Before long I was looking forward to walking to school every morning with Cohen at my side, and it felt good.
Then one warm spring day walking home from school Cohen says, “Laz, you look like a pelican,” and pushes me down into a thorn bush. All the kids just kept on walking. They left me stuck in the bush.
I ran home. Mom screamed when she saw my face, arms and legs covered with scratches and blood. I was crying hysterically, not so much from the rose thorn cuts on my bare limbs, but from feeling so stupid. When Dad came home from work he was furious. He said it was time I stood up to Cohen. He said I needed to fight him right now and make him understand that I wasn’t afraid. I said I didn’t think that was a good idea, but he went to the telephone. Before I knew what happened, I was standing on the street outside our house next to my Dad staring at Cohen. He had already told the gang about the fight, and a group of kids from school had gathered around to watch.
Dad was trying to coach me about stepping into my punches and not forgetting to protect my nose. I told him I don’t like my nose anyway, and that I was even more sure that it wasn’t a good idea to fight Cohen.
So my father finally said, “Come on son, you need to fight this kid back - show him you are not afraid.” I was afraid, but because my Dad was there with me I fought Cohen, and it was over in five minutes. He beat me up bad so Dad had to stop the fight.
But you know what, Cohen never pushed me around again after that, and I learned an important lesson. Get a nose job. No, not really.
In the Torah the Children of Israel were “unwilling to go up” because they too were afraid. They were afraid because “our brothers made us lose heart.” They were too interested in what others thought about them.  So Moses says,
“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you as he did in Egypt and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a Father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deut. 1:26-31)
One of the most important roles of a father is to teach his children not to be afraid. A child who grows up in the security of  a father’s care is able to gain the kind of confidence  he needs to try new things and develop his own personality. A good father will not only protect his children, he will also instill within them the confidence they need to stand up themselves when necessary. Knowing God as my Father has helped give me the confidence to do things I never even imagined I could do.
From the New Covenant,
 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Now if we are children then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Messiah, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Rom.8:15-17.
Published in Abba Lazarus' Blog

Blog Search