Passion & Paper Clips

Holly Palandro, Choir Instructor

Passion is always something I have wrestled with. As a creative person, I tend to be passionate about many, many things. And not just kind of passionate, more like the all-in, do-or-die type of passionate. While that has its benefits, it can also be a challenge when it comes to living a balanced life.
At Trinity Classical School I have the distinct privilege of teaching Choir to our brilliant students. I may be a little biased (or overly passionate), but I’m pretty sure being the Choir Teacher is the best job there is in the whole school. Every 30 minutes I get to welcome 2 classes of beautiful students into the Choir Room. We worship and dance and listen to great music together and they share little tidbits from their day with me, and then we pray and they go on to their next great adventure of the school day. I am truly passionate about every kid that walks into my Choir Room. They always come bouncing in with their bright faces, open hearts, and the TCS logo proudly emblazoned on their uniform. It makes me smile every time when I get to see a fresh group of them marching in like an army of exuberant worshippers. Talk about Passion! These kids are always ready to sing about Jesus and really, whatever we are learning that day, they are all-in, do-or-die, passionate about it!
One of my favorite moments this past school year happened during a Kindergarten class. A little boy raised his hand after we finished singing our opening song. I called on him and he said: “Mrs. Palandro, my friend just poked me in the hand and it hurt a lot.” As I went over to investigate, I found another student had managed to procure a Paper Clip. He had straightened it out, as we all have done at some point in our lives, and was curious to see what kind of power this small tool-turned-weapon could wield. Once I had located the offending Paper Clip, which was clutched tightly in a Kindergarten fist, I removed it and placed it on the piano for safe keeping. I then checked the hand of the student who had been poked. Seeing that there was no puncture wound or redness or really even a dent to show where the poke had happened, I told the student “I am so sorry that happened to you! Your friend is going to apologize now.” He very quickly said “Oh no! Mrs Palandro, he doesn’t need to apologize! I’m grateful that he poked my hand like that!” At that unexpected response, I inquired further… “Well, why is that?” His answer was genuine and firm. “Because! Now I know what it’s like to be more like Jesus since he basically crucified me with that Paper Clip! I know exactly how Jesus felt when they were nailing him to the cross!”
Of course, the room erupted into laughter at that announcement. But after we all settled back into normalcy, it struck me. THAT is exactly the response we should have to everything!  Maybe the things that poke at us every day are the things we need to experience to understand Jesus better.  Maybe the things that poke at us every day are the things that we should be grateful for instead of wishing them away. Maybe the things that poke at us every day are actually what the Lord is using to show more of himself to us. Good or bad, we should be passionate about looking for how we can be more like Jesus in all things, even the things that poke us.
The fact that a 5 year old student is excited and passionate about being more like Jesus is an amazing and humbling thing to witness. I am grateful for that Paper Clip in the hand of that precious little boy. It taught me a lesson about passion that I will not soon forget.  I want to be more passionate about actively looking for reasons to celebrate when the Lord uses everyday things to shape us into his image! Even though it might be painful.
So what are we really passionate about?
As a Christian, I am passionate about worship and justice and love.  As a wife I am passionate about loving my husband well and building a strong, Christ-centered, family.  As a Mother, I am passionate about training my children to love beauty and to pursue kindness and to walk in peace. As a Music Educator I am passionate about teaching students to sing with boldness and to be filled with joy as they worship and to recognize that God is the greatest Artist the world will ever know.
I am also passionate about Babies and Beaches and the Tony Awards and Black Tea… and Paper Clips.