It was the first PTO meeting of the year and the room was bursting at the seams. So many eager parents ready to lend a hand, serve the school, and support their kids.
Or so I thought.
As the evening started to wind down, a list was passed around to volunteer for upcoming events. The book fair, the fall festival, helping out in a teacher’s classroom: all kinds of ways to help the school. I was seated near the back–my favorite place to sit–and was one of the last few to sign the sheet. As I glanced down the list because I’m nosey like that, I noticed that the majority of the people in attendance had only checked one box on the volunteer list: PTO committee.
Most people had skipped over the need for classroom assistance or helping in the library, no one had marked the column to call local businesses for donations for a raffle, and only a few had signed up for the fall festival or the book fair that was coming.
But everyone wanted to be on the committee that told everyone else what to do. Interesting.
I’m not going to lie, up until that moment, I had thought I would make a good PTO committee person. I’m creative! I’m organized! I’m bossy! All great attributes for a committee person.
But looking at that list, it was obvious that is not where I was needed. Smoothing the paper out to stall for time, I took a deep breath and checked off a couple other boxes.
Spring carnival: here I come.
Cake donations: I’ve got you covered.
PTO committee: you’re not for me.
There are two things I could have done when faced with that sign-up sheet. I could have added my name to the PTO committee list like most other people did. The position probably held a lot of glory and prestige (as all elementary PTO positions do, obviously). I would have been good at that job. Or I could have signed up for the less prestigious and less glory-filled jobs. I am not so good at those jobs.
I went with the latter. I would like to say it is because I am enlightened and gracious. But let’s be honest, I am not normally those things. Or, ever, perhaps. It was hard for me to take those jobs. It felt like it was beneath me a little because I HAVE SUCH GREAT TALENTS THAT YOU PEOPLE COULD USE.
And when I had those thoughts above (because those are the exact thoughts I had, truth be told), I signed up for the other jobs out of shame and probably a little Holy Spirit prompting.
When I decided to become a Christian, I agreed to die to myself every day. I recognized my need to be humble and serve others before myself. It wasn’t just going to be in big ways like feeding the needy, donating to good causes, and helping old ladies to their cars so I can load their grocery bags full of Fig Newtons and Ensure cans into their trunks. It was mostly going to be in little ways like helping my husband when I want to keep my lazy butt on the couch or when I have to go back into my daughters’ room just one more time at bedtime without killing anyone. I agreed to try to be humble and serve others at school PTO meetings when everyone wants to be in charge but no one actually wants to do the work.
If we can’t do the small stuff well, we won’t ever get to the big stuff. And I don’t know what the big stuff is exactly, but I know that God’s big stuff will always be better than my plans for big stuff.
So Friday night I’m setting up the spring carnival. I am in charge of nothing. I’ll just show up and be told what to do. The PTO committee will have it all planned and I’ll just be there to lend a hand. I’ll bring a store-bought cake or two for the cake walk. I’ll do as I’m told which is something I’m working on daily. Submitting. Obeying. Serving others.
If I had realized God was going to use a PTO meeting to teach me some lessons, I might have just skipped out on it.
I am such a defiant child.