If you didn’t already know, I am a teacher of small children and while I am there to give them knowledge, they teach me far more than their little minds could imagine.
There are weeks where it feels like all I do is nag, shout and discipline. It’s not nice for them and it’s not nice for me but there are times when this can become the norm (usually as a holiday is looming). However, one thing that always astounds me is that every single day, these same children that I was barking at the day before will still unfailingly run up to me every morning to greet me and hug me.
It fascinates me. My adult mind knows for certain that if someone was moody with me yesterday, I would absolutely not be embracing them with open arms no matter how saved I was feeling that day. My students are always so excited to see me whether I’ve been gone for 7 days or 7 minutes regardless of the mood I’m in. I don’t say this to sound like a fantastic teacher because I know every primary school teacher can attest to this.
Another thing that fascinates me is the memory of these children. They remember everything I say. Even the things I would rather they didn’t remember. If I mention even a hint of something exciting, they will hold on to it and remind me of it until I eventually have to do something about it.
So what’s the lesson here?
Jesus instructs us to be like little children (Matthew 18:2-4) and every day I learn a different way to do that through teaching. This time I’m encouraged to forgive the offences but remember the promises just like my children do. Children can be offended by almost anything. Someone not talking to them in the playground, someone taking their pencil or in a very recent experience of mine, someone calling them a potato; but they would have forgotten about it in a very short space of time. Forget the offences and do not treat people according to what they did to you. Granted, it is not an easy thing to do and it is something that I am learning to do daily but I believe if children can do it, so can we. So can I. If you’ve been holding offence in your heart, take it to God and allow Him to guide you through the process of letting it go. I cannot tell you the amount of times in a day I hear “MISSSSSSSS!!!! So and so said…..” and as annoying as it is, it’s heartwarming to know that these children bring their issues to me because they trust that I can handle it. It’s the same with us and God. The only difference is that God never gets tired of hearing from us. In fact he tells us to come to Him (Matthew 11: 28-30; 1 Peter 5:17), no matter how trivial the problem is.
Finally, remember the promises. Remember the good. If God has said He will do something, trust that He will. I told my pupils we were going on a school trip and they were instantly excited. They didn’t ask “Hmm, what’s the catch? Why are we going? What did we do to deserve it?” They just… believed me. They weren’t interested in anything else. Miss said we’re going so we’re going and that’s that. This is the attitude I believe God wants us to have with Him. An attitude of unquestioning, unwavering trust. God said it. I believe it. That settles it. It’s done.
That said, it can be so hard. This is something I’ve been trying to live out for some time but I still fall short daily. I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be in control but that’s not what it means to be a child of God. I need to relinquish control and really learn what it means to trust and remind myself of the promises of God and what He and He alone has to say.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t but look at the children you have around you. How do they interact with authority figures? How do they relate with their peers or siblings? There is much to learn from these young ones. No one is too young to be a teacher so let’s keep learning.