I've been doing more teaching and less blogging lately, but this is something I wanted to get in writing so I can look back and be reminded on the days when I forget what this life is all about.
I heard something sad today.
I was on the phone with the parent of a student who is... difficult, to say the least. This 5th grader acts defiantly, slacks off although he's smart, thinks he's in charge, and on and on. The thing is, those characteristics (especially the issues with defiance and authority) are generally (key word, generally) seen in children who lack positive parental authority and influence.
Truth- all of us are born with a will and a sinful nature.
Truth - parents are the God-given structure and authority meant to rear their children.
Truth - having the school be the primary teachers to children about authority and roles is not ideal.
But, this 5th grader has seemingly loving and involved parents. (Granted, you never know what goes on at home.) They are supportive of the teachers, involved in his education. They seem to follow through. They expect him to listen and obey authority. They have consequences when he doesn't. Seemingly, they're doing the best they can. In fact, I called this student's mom last week after an issue in music class, and because her son continued to be defiant and refuse to change his attitude/ actions, she immediately stopped what she was doing and drove up to the school. Now that's commitment.
Today, I talked to this 5th grader's dad on the phone. Towards the end of our conversation, I said "Thank you for your support. We'll get him on the right track."
And the dad replied: "Well, I just don't know. It's like, I think we're doing the right thing. We're trying our best and it just feels like we're failing. I guess we'll have to change our methods."
His tone was so sad, so defeated. [After a weekend of no privileges for issues in school last week, the kid beat another student up today and got suspended.]
When we hung up, I thought to myself, that family just needs Jesus. The ultimate solution. Complete and perfect wisdom and love found in Jesus Chris.
And it's really as simple, and as complicated, as that.
These kids I see day in and day out - whether mom and dad are on drugs or at home working stable jobs, whether they are homeless or have a house to call home, whether they are in foster care or with their biological parents - each of them desperately needs the deep deep love of our wonderful Savior.
Yes, learning to be successful in school will serve them well.
Yes, a great teacher and education can be a temporary, but life-altering, influence. That's why I teach.
But when I hear somebody sound that defeated, that frustrated... it's sad. I hung up the phone with that student's father and said a prayer. Because I believe that prayer can change things. Prayer changes people.
Trying to keep in the forefront of my mind - see these children how God sees them, shine a light, pray often, love always.