And then it happened. The tears started to fall at the intersection of Spalding and Holcomb Bridge on my way home. It started to make sense as I reflected on the day,
The teacher had become the student and the lessons she had been teaching had actually been teaching her.
This school year, more so than years past, I have been diligent in establishing my expectations and procedures. Where to turn work in, how to head your paper, the appropriate time to sharpen your pencil or ask to go to the restroom, how to stack the chairs, what your area should look before leaving the room, etc. The list goes on and on. And although some things may seem petty or unnecessary, it makes managing a classroom feel effortless. And in part, it somewhat is because the kids know what to do and how it should be done. Day in and day out telling the kids what I want and how I want things done. Modeling my expectations. And reminding them. And reiterating them. And although the days and classes have their ebs and flows, the goal is that the foundation for a classroom that runs like a well-oiled machine has been set. The work put in, in the beginning begins to pay off. And its dividends are large and its effect is long-lasting.
It’s been tough in that it goes against my nature. I don’t want to follow the rules. I want to do things the way I like them and at my leisure. Which is not day in a day out. I don’t want to wait for it to pay off. I want to see results now.
But God doesn’t work like that. He sees the big picture…much like the teacher does.
That in the day in and day out, the work that is being put in will come to fruition. You may not see it immediately, but it will happen. And when a steadfast foundation for the blessing has been set, that’s when the harvest comes. That is when you can look back and see that the toiling and the tears haven’t been for nothing.
I felt out of sorts this morning. I had thought of a lesson on the way to school, but shushed it away. No…it feels too vulnerable. So, in came 1st period and we did the very opposite of what I had heard in my head on the way to school. I looked out at my students…and I hated the lesson.
Do the other lesson! I couldn’t shake the thought. I hadn’t been all mushy and vulnerable this year because I had been making sure our ship was sturdy, so to speak. I know the two are not mutually exclusive, but for some reason I had compartmentalized them.
I changed what I was doing before 2nd period came in.
2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th period left hanging on, wanting more. The kind of teacher heaven days where you are practically kicking them out of the room at the end of class because they are so engaged and hungry for more. We had talked about William McIntosh being killed by his tribe. He had betrayed them…and they had retaliated.
History makes my heart beat fast. The elements of human nature are ever present. People evolve. Technology advances. Circumstances change. But human nature is constant. And if we look closely enough at history, we can see ourselves.
And so our lesson centered on betrayal. We laughed and cried…because at the end of the day, young or old, we have all experienced hurt on some level. And in that moment, God used the broken pieces of my past to give them whatever (very few) nuggets of wisdom I had. They were in awe. You, too, have been broken? You, too, have been betrayed? And still you have risen from the ashes of your pain? Ah, yes, I shared with them.
Pain cannot consume he who refuses to be consumed.
All day, these babies wanted to talk and share and be loved on. Part of being vulnerable is getting to share and do life with others. To talk and share and be loved on. It’s all part of the human experience. It occurred to me that they could handle the depth of the discussion because the foundation of the expectations for how we comport ourselves in our space and how we have engage in conversation and discourse had been set. And modeled. And repeated. And reiterated. The foundation had been set.
This isn’t about me. This is not because of anything I did. I am flawed and get it wrong…more than I care to admit. I am no better than anyone else. But He is.
God used this day to remind me to trust Him.
Put the work in ahead of time. Listen to My voice. It will go against what you want…often. The work is hard, but the dividends are worth it and its effect will be long-lasting. You will have to repeat this to yourself. And remind yourself. And reiterate it. But I will bless you. And I will bless your experiences. They are not in vein. They are not for nothing. And when the foundation has been set, I will know you are ready. I have to make sure you know how the ship works and then you can forge a new path, taking with you what I have given you and blessing others along the way.
The intersection between what He has taught us and the blessing that will follow when we are ready is significant. And we cannot go through the intersection before being given the green light.
The best is yet to come.
Your latter day will be greater than your former day.