I’ve been substitute teaching for the past few months, and boy, it’s been exhilarating and humbling work. As the younger of two children, I did not have any siblings to care for, and in the past I favored pet-sitting (due to a childhood obsession with dogs) over babysitting. So in short, before 2015 I had little opportunities to nurture little ones.
With that said, what’s one observation so far in this exciting position of monitoring and instructing K-12 kiddos?
We are like kindergarteners.
It’s 1:30pm – the bell scheduled to ring in 30 minutes – and a crayon flew across my face. In one corner three boys were wrestling in line for the pencil sharpener (which had been banned earlier, to no avail), two girls were squealing over the pages of a giant children’s book, one boy was gaming on a laptop (computers in a 5 year old classroom!), and another one crying on the floor. Others were responsibly coloring at their desks, while a second pack of boys lay sprawled out and giggling on the large carpet for group learning.
Could it even be called organized chaos? Where should I start?
My eyes continued to scan–ah! There’s the student digging into the pencil box. The crayon must have come from him.
Another student, “He’s Richard!”
“Oh, yes, right, Richard! No throwing anything, okay? That is dangerous, it could hit someone else!”
He simply looked up at me, with a playful grin. Did he understand?
I left the school that day a little discouraged, but mostly with newfound respect for kindergarten teachers. More grace, the kind only Christ supplies, would be needed for future substituting and Lord-willing motherhood.
Not only that, but before God’s all-knowing, all-perfect, and all-good eyes, we humans may seem like little ones running crazily around the classroom of life.
We have our own ideas of fun and what’s right. Our own daydreams and tantrums. Our own stubborn pursuit of coloring between the lines or not at all. And God, unlike the helpless substitute teacher, has a flawless lesson plan that must be listened to.
As I watched the mayhem of the kindergarten classroom, about to try to set things in order, I couldn’t help but consider the fact that I am a child before God. He created me, and despite my plentiful moments of disobedience, He offers eternal life.
So often I lean upon my own limited understanding, instead of completely trusting Him with all my heart. I’m distracted by a pencil sharpener when God is directing me to learn the critical grammar of worship. I’m arguing with another student when God has already told me that I must forgive as I’ve been forgiven by Him.
It’s so easy for me to lose patience with the cute, new-to-school kindergarteners, and yet I’m reminded that God shows His patience each day as He waits for us to turn to Him and to follow His Word.
More than that, the children’s unassuming nature provides a beautiful example for faith. Jesus Himself welcomed children during his time on earth, appreciating their seeking hearts.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4
When the kindergartners flocked around me, asking a million questions and wrapping their arms about my legs in affection and thankfulness, I was a little moved. Later, when sharing this moment with my husband, he gave a precious reminder.
That embrace of humble adoration and trust is how we are to come to God.