As you may notice, this is an older post. Now I am mom, and I look back at this and chuckle, but the lessons of teaching still bless my heart…and I hope yours too.
I’ve been substitute teaching for the past few months, and boy, it’s been exhilarating and challenging work!
As the younger of two children, I did not have any siblings to care for, and as a busy teen I did little babysitting. So in short, before 2015 I had few 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 wrestled in line for the pencil sharpener (which had been banned earlier, to no avail), two girls squealed over the pages of a giant book, one boy gamed on a laptop (computers in a 5 year old classroom!), and another one cried on the floor.
Others responsibly colored 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.
“You – ummmm…”
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 bit 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 in God’s all-knowing, all-perfect, and all-good eyes, I realized 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 followed.
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 and prodigal living, He adopted me and offered me eternal life in Christ.
So often I lean upon my own limited understanding, instead of completely listening to Him with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I’m distracted by the pencil sharpener of my career 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 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
At the end of that crazy day, when the kindergartners flocked around me asking a million questions and wrapping their arms about my legs in affection and thankfulness, I was so moved.
Later, when sharing this moment with my husband, he gave a precious reminder.
That embrace of joyful adoration and trust is how we are to come to God. It’s childlike faith.
Humble and pure.