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School Days

I was substituting in kindergarten a few weeks ago, when a 4 year old put his hand over mine and said, “Ms. King, you are really getting on my nerves.”

I laughed and said, “Oh, really?” He said, “Yes, but it’s not my last nerve, so I don’t have to throw a fit or use my angry voice.”

Really? 4 years old? What are we doing to our children? He didn’t just come up with that on his own, obviously. I’m thinking perhaps his mom needs a life coach! Ha!

Seriously, though, I have taught school for twelve years, and subbed on and off for at least three or four more. I have watched the changes in our school system, our family structures, our values, and our teachers. There is so much pressure on everyone to get it right. And no one really seems to know exactly what “right” is or where it is located. I saw a comic strip that had two sides. On the left side, labeled ‘1960’s,’ the parents were standing in front of the teacher’s desk and directing their anger at their son. “What were you thinking?” On the right side, labeled ‘Today,’ the parents were standing in front of the teacher’s desk and the parents and child were all yelling at the teacher. “What were you thinking?” It’s sad, really. I used to think that love was enough to cure anything and fix every problem. Today, though, people make themselves increasingly difficult to love, and problems seem so overwhelming, it’s almost as if there’s not enough love in the world to heal the brokenness. I remember when the Columbine massacre took place. Someone asked, “Where was God to let this happen to our children?” An astute pastor answered, “He wasn’t allowed in the school.” Four year olds shouldn’t even be aware of having nerves. A five year old shouldn’t feel the urge to run around the library pulling out books and howling like an animal. A third grader shouldn’t even think to say, “No. I’m not going to do that,” to a teacher. And teachers shouldn’t be afraid to enter a classroom or discipline a student. Our children and our schools are in desperate need of prayer. They are in desperate need of God’s love openly and honestly given. I can’t see it happening in my lifetime. Each one of us can only fix what we see in our little corner of the world. And God is expecting us to do that. With prayer, with words, with action, with love. As believers, nothing less is acceptable. Embrace your kids, teach them to love and be kind to each other. Teach them that this life is not all about them. But most of all, teach them about God and His glorious love. That is the one “right” that will never fail us!

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