Ann Farabee: Wrong place?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2018


Ann Farabee

In the middle of a lesson with my 5th graders, there was a tap on the classroom door. Students looked on with excitement, because we were getting a new student. I stepped into the hallway and was informed that neither the boy – nor his mother – spoke English.
Calendar Alert: This happened LONG ago and it was my first experience with a non-English speaking student. But…an interpreter was coming by later, so I got my student settled and our lesson resumed.
Within seconds, I knew there was a problem. He had no intention of sitting anywhere. He nervously crawled under his desk. He began singing – loudly. He wandered aimlessly around the room, watching us anxiously.
My students were in disbelief. They tried to stay focused, but it was more interesting watching him. I was constantly redirecting everyone, and none of us were getting anywhere.
A LONG two hours later, the principal came into my classroom and whispered softly, “I am sorry. He is not in 5th grade. He is 5 years old.”
I would love to have seen the look on my face. So…I walked him to his kindergarten classroom. Instant happiness. For all.
He had been in the wrong place. He did not fit. He could not function. He did not feel right. He was not meant to be there. He wandered aimlessly.
Being in the wrong place impacted him.
Being in the wrong place impacted those around him.
When he got to the right place, relief came.
Ever been in the wrong place?
I sure have… way too many times.
When I am in a wrong place, I do not fit there. I can not function there. I do not feel right there. I am not meant to be there. I wander aimlessly. It impacts me – and it impacts those around me.
So, how do we get from the wrong place to the right place?
Deuteronomy 2:3 says, “You have compassed this mountain long enough: now turn north.”
Turn means to change directions. It requires action.
As the school day ended, I walked out with my students, and we saw our ‘new student’ with his mom, and the interpreter. They were all smiles. He happily waved. Once he had changed directions – and had gotten from the wrong place to the right place… all was well.
Can you imagine what it would have been like if action had not been taken on behalf of the 5 year old, and his aimless wandering had continued day after day? No one would have ever let that happen!
So why do we stay in the wrong place in our own lives, when we know it is not where we need to be? Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. For something to change. Maybe we need to turn north – change our direction – and get back to the right place.
We have compassed this mountain long enough – let’s turn north.
Relief can be instant.

Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at or


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