The following is a post I wrote five years ago. It’s hard to believe my little girl just started 7th grade last week. We are still choosing love over fear and having our ears open to those who need us to hear their stories. Read on.
I’ve always loved the start of the school year. I love pointy pencils, folders with clean edges, fresh bottles of glue and crayons neatly lined in their box. My oldest daughter started second grade this fall, and she is much like her mama. Eager to learn. Excited about diving into new subjects. Unfortunately, our first month of school has been trying.
I knew it was bad when the first day of school my eager learner came home from second grade and told us the teacher had yelled at the class all day. My mama heart was alarmed but I wanted to give grace. After all, many of my friends and family are teachers, and I know how hard it can be to start up at a new school with new systems and administration.
As the weeks slipped by my daughter started saying things like, “I don’t like school.” She was coming home tired and frustrated because she felt like kids in her class were always getting in trouble and she was missing out. As a mama, fear and anxiety started to fester in my heart. I started talking to friends for ideas, even looking into other schools.
Some suggested homeschool but I knew that was not the answer for our family right now.We tried to encourage our first-born, rule follower that things would get better. We prayed together on the way to school for her teacher, her class. I tried to make an appointment with the teacher but it took several weeks before I got a call back and finally nailed down a date.
Last Thursday my husband and I finally had a chance to meet with the teacher. I sat down prepared to defend my daughter, but God had a very different plan. We quickly learned that the teacher had more than her hands full. She was facing several personal challenges – a mom with cancer, a dad who recently had a heart attack, her own husband dying two years ago. She also faced a class with more than half a dozen kids who had serious behavior issues and difficult home situations. As tears pooled in her eyes, we saw how overwhelmed she was.
Something pricked my heart in that moment. Maybe God had put my daughter in this specific class this year so our family could BE a blessing to this teacher. Maybe it was less about our needs and ideals and more about hearing her story, entering into her world. My husband asked if we could pray with her, and she breathed an audible sigh of relief. We ended our meeting with teary eyes and hugs.
It was amazing to see how much this woman seemed to transform right before my eyes once I knew her story. Do you have your own example? Someone who is difficult in your life or your child’s life? Maybe it’s a teacher, a soccer coach, another kid at school? Maybe it’s that neighbor boy who seems to live at your house or even a coworker who has a continuous chip on her shoulder. I challenge you to ask them a little more about their story. Be brave. Enter in. You might be surprised at what you discover.
I know that was true for me, for our family. Now we can be a blessing to my daughter’s teacher. We have the chance to walk alongside her and support her, to pray for her.
The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). As a mama, it’s my job to model that for my kids. This year my daughter is learning a more powerful lesson about granting grace and covering others with love than if she were sitting in a “perfect classroom.”
Her parents are learning too.