Back to School

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#43: “Back to School”
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Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9What does the worker gain from his toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. 15Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. 16And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment--wickedness was there, in the place of justice--wickedness was there. 17I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed." 18I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

22So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Hebrews 13:8
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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“Back to School” is episode #43 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on September 10, 1988.


Leslie seems to have trouble with telling the truth. "Over-Exaggeration" seems to be her middle name.


Leslie has a reputation around Whit's End for telling stories — exaggerated ones. Most of the time, they're pretty funny. But today they're covering up something more serious. First, she describes the Turners' dog as being bigger than a horse. Then Leslie tells Whit a wild tale about her first day at school: Her mother made her wear a torn dress and a hot sweater. The bus was driven by Crazy Eddie, who only drives slower than 65 mph when he has to slow down for turns. All her friends deserted her at school. The principal put her in Mr. Gutwrench's class, who immediately made fun of her torn dress, gave her a 10,000-word essay to write, and yelled at her for hanging out with her friends during the summer.

Whit, of course, questions the truthfulness of these statements. After a bit of probing, he discovers that Leslie is actually upset because her best friend, Cindy Hanson, isn't hanging around with her anymore. Cindy is good friends with Krista now, even though Cindy and Leslie promised to be best friends forever. Whit suggests the promise was one neither of them could keep. But Leslie ignores him and confronts Cindy at her house. Leslie tells Cindy that if they can't be best friends, then they won't be friends at all! Cindy shrugs this off as a sign of Leslie's immaturity.

Leslie runs home, feeling sorry for herself. She ends up treating another friend, Ann, the same way Cindy treated her. When Ann leaves in tears, Leslie's mother gets to the bottom of the situation and explains to Leslie that people change as they get older. Sometimes friends grow apart, and Leslie and Cindy are starting to do that. But there is a friend who will never change: Jesus.

Leslie feels terrible about her actions. She calls Ann to apologize. Ann forgives her, Leslie reunites with Cindy, and Leslie learns a valuable lesson about friendship and life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why was Leslie upset with Cindy?
    • Did Leslie have a right to be upset with her?
    • Why or why not?
  2. Have you ever grown apart from your best friend?
    • How did you feel?
    • What did you do about it?
  3. Leslie had trouble when her friendships changed. What kinds of changes are hardest for you?



VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version of this episode has Chris talking to a janitor just before school starts.




Leslie: But, the bus pulled up... and the door opened... and... and it was him!
John Whittaker: Who?
Leslie: Our bus driver, Crazy Eddie!
Crazy Eddie: <laughs evilly> Hello, my pretties! Welcome to my weirdsmobile. All aboard! <laughs evilly again>

Police Officer: Ok, pal. You want to explain why you were doing 65 in a 30 mile an hour speed zone?
Crazy Eddie: Well, I... uh, I was slowing down for the turn! <laughs evilly>

Mr. Gutwrench: Since you came late and have a torn dress, I want you to go first, Laura.
Leslie: I'm Leslie, so you must mean Lisa.

John Whittaker: You know, Leslie, I've discovered that there are times when I don't like a lot of things because I'm upset with something completely different than the things I don't think I like.
Leslie: Huh?