Children offer many memories

By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist

The closing of another school year brings back many thoughts filed in my mental book of memories. The simple trust and faith of children are traits I need everyday. When facing obstacles in my life, I think of the problem from the children’s perspective.
“We have to go on to third grade because we’re growing up,” one of my second grade students told me near the end of school. Then I remembered the trauma I felt when our own sons began to leave the nest.
“You’ve been wonderful parents but it’s time for me to grow up,” our last son said as he hugged me tight. My tears fell on his feet, yet in my heart I had to let go.
Lesson number one: “You treasure the time you have with those you love and then you let them go.” I hugged each student goodbye with misty eyes. I did the same thing when our own children left home. I sent my students and our sons on to the next stage of their lives, to soar successfully on wings of love and prayers.
Another student came up to me one day on the playground, “Teacher, I prayed for you last night.”
“And what did you pray?” I asked.
“I asked the Lord to keep you,” he replied, not knowing the heartache that faced me. My mother had been hospitalized and the outcome did not look good. The faith filled prayer of this little child the night before enabled me to carry on.
A student and his father came to my room one morning with a beautiful cake they had made. “We’ve been praying for you. We want to bless you with a cake.” Their encouragement and comfort came back to me in many ways as I faced the death of my mom.
Lesson number two: “Nothing done for God is ever wasted.” The seemingly little things in life become monumental to those who are ministered to. Just to know someone else cares, whose thoughts are with you is a comfort. Those words and thoughts will long be remembered with grateful appreciation. What seems so small to you becomes great in the eyes of a hurting soul.
Lesson number three: “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” a student said during a Social Studies lesson. What a profound quote from a little second grader. His insight amazed me and I have never forgotten his statement. When I am faced with troubling situations I look deeper to find the good in others.  In those circumstances I find peace.
Lesson number four: “Overlook offenses.” I’m sure I have offended someone unknowingly and I feel sorrow for that. I need to be more like the children. They can have a disagreement one minute and walk off with arms around each other the next.
I read in The New Century Version, 1 Corinthians 13, verse 5: “Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done.”  In my own life I don’t know where the offending person is coming from. Many things could be happening in their lives I know nothing about. I have seen the gracious instant forgiving attitude possessed by children and I want those same characteristics. I’ll try to do my best to follow Romans 14:19: “So let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another.” (NCV)
Lesson number five: “Expressing love is like “hugs” from God.” While walking down the hall one day, I overheard a third grader say, “That’s my teacher from last year.
“She loves me.”
If a child’s affection fills my heart with delight, how much more does my delight in God fill his heart. I want to hear him say,
“That’s my child down there. She loves me!”