Today was SYATP, or "See You At The Pole." It began in 1990. I wasn't around the flag pole today, but I was 20 years ago. (Okay, how old does that make me feel?!)
I was in middle school. We'd never had See You at the Pole at our school before but our youth group was attending a rally with several other churches and I was hyped. Several of my friends from church were also in my school so I gathered a small group who agreed to join me around the flag pole and pray. I grabbed some of the posters and hung them up around school. And then I got called to the office.
Now you must understand. I was a good student. More than that, I was a "goody-two-shoes." I didn't like to make waves. I didn't get in trouble. Getting called to the principal's office was a rare experience for me.
"Carrie," he started, "Someone said you hung up these posters," he passed me one of the familiar fliers. I simply nodded. He continued, "We don't want to cause any controversy. We're not going to have that flag pole event at our school." I never uttered a word. I was dismissed from his office. Humph.
Maybe I should go back. I didn't like to make waves - but I could.
We gathered around the flagpole as planned. I am fuzzy on the exact number (give me a break - it was 20 years ago) but I know it was less than 10. I admit I was nervous. I had been the ring leader up to this point, so it wasn't surprising when I got no volunteers when I asked if anyone wanted to pray. I prayed for each person there, our school, our teachers, the principal, our classmates. The pole was located in the front of the school - right by the loop where students were being dropped off. Perfectly positioned so our schoolmates could see our little circle with joined hands and bowed heads.
That was the first of many years of SYATP for me. A few years later around the flag pole in front of our high school, I remember having to yell and hope the people across the circle could hear me. The gathering was 60+ strong.
I pulled away from the carpool line this morning listening to the reports from schools all across our area. I beamed with pride at the students who were taking a stand around their flagpoles, standing up for their faith - many in public schools like I had been in - and praying for their schools and their classmates.
I recalled our morning. I sat cuddling my son once he woke up, probably the best part of any morning, and asked if we could pray about his day. We weren't gathered around the flagpole - we were sitting on my bed - but he asked if we could pray for one of his friends at school. He prayed to make good choices and have a good day. It made my own heart beyond happy to hear his tender hearted requests.
I pray there will come a day when my son will make a choice and ask to gather around the flagpole - whether or not he has the support of his principal, he'll have my support.
(P.S. A mom-friend just posted that the principal was the one LEADING prayer around the flag pole at the elementary school this morning! How awesome is that?!)