By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
“Back to school” is here again. Where did the time go? Wasn’t it only yesterday school was out for the summer?
After 14 years of retirement, I still miss it! I went back one year to give a gift to the teacher for her graduating seniors. She introduced me to her class and told them I used to be a teacher. Immediately a cute little first-grader exclaimed: “I’m going to be in your room next year.” I smiled amidst my tears, wishing it could be.
When I first started teaching, I looked forward to Fridays. The longer I taught, the more I looked forward to Mondays.
I learned many lessons from the children.
One of my students did not complete his work. He offered many excuses, none of which were acceptable. After explaining the concept again I asked him to keep trying and reassured him he could do it. In a few minutes he rushed to me and said, “Here, I rememborized this time!”
Lesson number one: Everyone needs encouragement and reassurance.
Another student described love to me, “It’s something that makes you feel good when you listen to your heart.”
How I need to listen to my heart. Somewhere in the midst of difficulties I temporarily lose sight of the fact that God is on my side and I can take everything to him. I need to stop, pray and listen to that “still, small voice.” He will guide me in all my ways if I listen. Sad to say, I haven’t always done that. Many times I’ve “lost my cool” and deeply regretted it. “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
Lesson number two: Listen to your heart.
Another one of my students was having a bad day. The redness on the other child’s arm gave incriminating evidence of having been pinched. I gave the offender time and space to settle down. He then went to his classmate.
“I’m so sorry.”
“That’s okay,” the offended student said as he put his arms around his classmate.
The incident was over, never to be remembered or brought up again.
“Children are a gift from God; they are his reward” (Psalm 127:3 TLB).
The world of children is such a wondrous thing. Their days are filled with sweet abandonment and trust. I need that wonderful trait of forgiveness and “no holding grudges.” The world has a way of badgering us with wounds and hurts, leaving us cynical, caustic with no trust in others. Resentment keeps our lives in constant turmoil with ghosts of bitterness from the past, poisoning our very souls.
Lesson number three: Forgive those who offend you and go on with life.
Thank God for Jesus! We give the pain to him and let it go. It is not ours anymore. It is not our burden to bear. What a wonderful feeling when a wound ceases to hurt. We have restful, peaceful sleep again. We awaken with renewed zest for living, ready to meet the challenges of the day.
It is just too wonderful. Through Jesus, we are back in that wondrous land of children. Give me a child’s faith and trust and I will show you miracles, signs and unexplained circumstances.
May each one of us recognize children as gifts from God. They are to be cherished, nurtured and loved. Our prayers go out to all of those who work with our most precious commodity, the children. May God watch over you and the children, keeping you from all harm.
May you walk in His safety, protection and favor.
God is on your side and so are we!
To all the teachers and children I say:
Have a happy and wonderful school year!