OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is nothing quite like a secondary school parents’ evening to test my ability to behave in a Christ-like manner. With five children my wife and I have more experience of parents’ evenings than most people. The problem is that these events just don’t function as they should. Primary school was fine with only one teacher to speak with. Secondary school with its unworkable system of appointments is a nightmare.

When the school advises us of each imminent parents’ evening we are warned that each appointment with a teacher cannot be anything more than the designated five minutes. There are some teachers who position warning notices on their desks reminding parents that they only have five minutes. In our experience these are the very teachers who repeatedly break the five-minute rule. It is not just parents that ramble on and on and on and on and on and on!

Both teachers and parents were at fault last night. We waited well over fifteen minutes while one lady rabbited to a teacher, oblivious to the queue of parents, and the mutterings emanating from the queue. When she finally got up to leave she put her gloves on indicating that this was her last appointment and that she was off home, without any requirement to queue to speak to other teachers. I made sure that I gave her the look. She knew. Because of her selfishness we finally made our 5:30 pm appointment with the English teacher at 7:10 pm.

Parents’ evening is one of those challenging events that have the power to strip a follower of Jesus of any evidence of any of the fruits of the Spirit. So I guess I should be grateful for this annual challenge to my behaviour. God created parents’ evenings for a reason. And it wasn’t just for us to get the lowdown on our offspring! I learned something at school last night.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV)