An elementary school teacher was tasked to teach Mathematics and Science in a class most teachers would classify as "challenging". A class of a rather large size, made up of students from contrasting family backgrounds and intellectual capacities. The common basic behavioural pattern - children do not complete and submit their homework punctually, and appear to be disinterested in their studies.
Faced with such a class and exhausting all known methods to try to change the behaviour of the students, the teacher reaches a point of questioning how much does one give to these kids. How far does one go to help them while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Can these kids be helped? Is there a line to draw in one's giving of oneself to them? What are their parents doing? Why are they not monitoring their own child's work closely? If the parents do not care, why should teachers? After all, the responsibility of educating a child rests primarily and most reasonably on the parents.
The teacher began having tea with one child in the school tuck shop, holding a conversation in confidence to find out about the child's struggles and family situation. As she listened to the child, probing further, her heart was moved with deep compassion. Before her sat a child who was helpless, clueless about what else he could do to improve in his studies. Frustrated because no matter how he has tried, he did not seem to be getting anywhere. He must have been questioning what was wrong with himself. When he met questions he did not understand, there wasn't anyone he could go to for help. During lessons, he would sit quietly at his desk, copying down the answers given on the board, and then staring out of the window in despair again.
In that conversation over tea, it was as if God Himself was crying out for help, for love, in that child. God was reaching out His hands to the teacher, seemingly asking, "Please, help me." God was inviting her to love Him in this child. Can the teacher not grab hold of those hands and pull him along? She certainly can. But because of all she has received from the Lord, because of the many times she herself has reached out to Him in utter helplessness and despair and always found Him ready to grab on and give her a tug, she could not bring herself to ignore or turn down the invitation. She could love because she first received the love of God.
And so, the teacher came up with a plan with the child to help him more specifically outside curriculum time. The child went away with a glimmer of hope on his face. He sat upright during lessons, and was diligently paying attention to what the teacher was teaching. There is light in what was an unending darkness. Someone cares, someone is available, someone will help me. I am not alone. I am not alone. And then, to the second child...
Although the teacher knows and accepts that she cannot help everyone in her limited time and energy, she finds joy in doing what she can in her capacity to be the hands and feet of the Master she desires to imitate. And even if the child does not improve in his grades, she knows she has spread a little love and cheer to someone in need. She has given Jesus to someone who did not know Him.
How much have you received from the hands of God?
In your life everyday, who may you give Jesus to?
04 May 2012, Friday