The “customers” are sort of nuts (mine are all 6, 7, and 8 after all), they sometimes hate what’s good for them, and any innocent phrase can set off uncontrollable giggles (dangers include pausing too long after the word “but,” talking about the planet Uranus with the emphasis on the u, and asking the question “under where?”). Ask me how I know.
>But the most unusual thing about our relationship with our “customers” is that we love them.
No matter the effort required in preparing for and wrapping up a school day, no matter the time spent conferencing with and e-mailing parents, no matter that the word “break” means squeezing in as much work as possible before the munchkins return. Our job is worthwhile it because we love our students.
For me, it’s a smile-uncontrollably-when-they-bound-in-the-room kind of love. It’s a cherish-every-picture-like-it’s-a-work-of-art kind of love. It’s a I’ll-give-you-all-the-energy-and-time-I-have-when-you-struggle kind of love.
And the natural outflow of that love, for me, is prayer.
Sometimes it’s a quick, fleeting thought during the day, and sometimes it’s longer and more intentional. But it’s an inevitable part of the package for me.
While I have many hopes and dreams for those kids’ futures, here’s the handful on my heart tonight:
That they will feel safe in my classroom. On every level. Physically and emotionally, I never want them to feel frightened for a moment. Lord, help me to communicate that I am there and can be trusted to care for them.
For their homes. No matter how many hours I spend with a child, his or her whole world is shaped at home. I pray that they’re adored, inspired, disciplined, respected, and nurtured from the moment they rise to the time they close their eyes.
For their parents. Because healthy families come from healthy parents. I pray their homes are free of shouting matches. That their parents’ lives a blessed and full. That they’d parent, though certainly not perfectly, with intentionally and purpose. That they put down their phones and e-mail when they can, and communicate how much those children matter. For their health, their jobs, their day-to-day. That they’d hold the important things in high regard and let go of the small things. That they’d prioritize togetherness, rest, and play time over practices, extra-curricular activities, and social engagements. That they’d balance their high expectations for their children with the knowledge that they’re only children.
That they grow in humility… In a culture that is hyper-focused on self-esteem (security is great, pride is ugly). I pray they become adults without a sense of entitlement. I hope that they genuinely admire other people and can offer praise and encouragement without a bit of envy or insincerity. I pray that they never consider a task “beneath” them. I pray they’d love to serve others simply for the sake of serving and that they’d perform acts of kindness and generosity in secret with no expectation of public praise.
For their wisdom. Forget book scholastic achievement, test-taking ability, and being well read. Though I’d be thrilled to see all of those things in their futures, a life without discernment, one of naivete and foolishness, is tough. One of my co-teachers describes the combination of foolish and brilliant as being “too smart to come out of the rain.”
For laughter. Lord, I don’t know if this is a virtue in itself. I know it’s not a guarantee. But, merciful, at least a chuckle a day and a good weeping, out-of-control, belly laugh a week is shockingly uplifting and so much cheaper than therapy.
Identity apart from achievement, expensive stuff, or popularity. Enough said.
That they’d be fascinated. By things large and small. Interested people are interesting.
For understanding that being entertained is not a “need.” It’s a struggle, and in an age of iPods, iPads, iPhones, gaming systems, TVs, computers, being occupied is the norm (guilty as charged). When they’re not busy, let them be content. Bored people are boring.
Basic grammar and math skills. OK. This isn’t the deep stuff. This is the teacher in me clawing her way to the surface. They don’t have to understand things like hyphenating compound adjectives that precede nouns they modify, faulty parallelism (see what I did there?), or dangling modifiers. Goodness, I broke tons of rules in this post alone (this is informal writing, guys).
Still, I genuinely hope that they know the difference between your and you’re. I hope they never pluralize with apostrophe’s (see what I did there?) and that they can communicate thoughts, ideas, arguments, and emotion through writing.
They don’t have to become engineers or adore equations that take hours. Still, I want them to be able make change without a calculator and to actually know their multiplication facts. I want them to figure the difference in what they pay buying something in cash up front versus paying interest on a loan over time.
And lastly, that they love and are loved. I pray they fall in love with the Lord and that they love their fellow man.
These are my thoughts tonight. I do hope you’ll share your prayers for the children in your life. ❤