Dear Cornerstone Family,
Years ago, in another life, I was hosting a gathering of business executives at the White House. During this meeting, the President was to address the crowd and show his commitment to the issue that had brought us all together. As a part of his introduction, he was to bestow a blessing on my role and importance by saying, "I want to thank my good friend Derrick Max for putting this event together and for his work on behalf of our country." All I remember of President Bush's introduction was him saying, "I want to thank my good friend Max Derrick...." I pretty much blanked out any memory beyond that point, except, of course, of the many faces in the room that looked at me and chuckled at how my "good friend" had bungled my name. Not exactly the blessing that I, or my donors, had hoped to receive.
You see, hearing your name, especially from someone deemed important, can make us feel special or can bestow an importance upon us. Being Principal, I greet every student that comes into the building each morning -- and I do my best to use their names. But the truth is, sometimes learning the names takes me a month or so into the school year, and sometimes, my uncertainty leads me to say, "Good morning, young man," hoping they don't realize my lapse in memory. From time to time, a student will stop and say, "Wait, Mr. Max, you don't know my name?" At this point, I pray, throw out a name, and so far, God has been gracious!
It is funny to me how the students want me to know their names, and they want to hear me say them. It is equally as entertaining to hear students argue over who is "Mr. Max's favorite." When asked, I whisper in each of the combatant's ear, "of course you are my favorite, but, don't tell anyone." This secret, of course, gets shared immediately, and they all realize I haven't chosen and won't.
Because Cornerstone is a small school, with very small classes, it feels a lot like a family. My role, oddly, feels like a father. It is not lost on me that so many of our kids want their "father" to know their names and want to hear their "father" say them. They also want to be their father's favorite. This is an awesome responsibility!
My hope, eternally speaking, is that our students come to know their Heavenly Father, and that one day, they will hear Him say their names as He welcomes them home: "Marcus... Sharise... well done. Enter into my kingdom that I might give you rest...." You see, God not only knows their names, He knows their stories, and unlike me, He has perfect recall and the limitless love and power to make them all His favorite!
May our students believe they are known by their Creator, and may they feel the honor of being His favorite... and may my role in their lives be but a glimpse of what awaits them.
Principal Max Derrick (as my good friend President Bush would say)
202-575-0027 Ext. 104