The only thing I’ve truthfully been doing a lot of lately is working, and since I work at a charter school, I figured that it might be cool to let you in to just a couple of things I’ve learned from kids on the job recently:
- You don’t need to be depressed forever. There will always be crying when you’re working with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, it’s a fact of life. Whether they get in an argument, fall while running on the black top, or simply feel discouraged, there is one thing that they do remarkably well, cry their hearts out and then get over it. I can’t recall the amount of times I’ve seen a kid crying as if there were no hope in the world for any kind of happiness, only to sober up in a matter of moments, maybe minutes (if it’s a something really serious like someone not wanting to be their friend anymore) How many times have we spent weeks and months in despair over situations that don’t actually last a fraction of that time. Let’s learn to pick up and keep moving, only looking back to learn, like these kids.
- There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Nicolas is an attractive kid with a round body, tanned skin, and a dark mop of curly hair who suffers from a common elementary school dilemma: He doesn’t know how to tie his shoes. Every day, without fail, he asks me to tie his shoes, and every day I double-knot them and wonder if his parents do too. And many days, he comes back and asks me to tie his shoes again, then I figure that they do. Truthfully, this can be annoying, but I’ve learned something valuable from it, he knows exactly what he is and isn’t capable of, and is quick to ask for help when he needs it, no matter how much he needs it, I suck at that. We honor God when we’re not afraid to ask Him for help. He’s created us to need Him, most of us would be better off trying to do less and asking for more.
- You’ve got to speak the language of the people. Last week, I spent about 15 minutes helping a young lady learn the relationship between multiplication and division and failing at it. I tried several different explanations but none were resonating with her, and then I related it to something she knew… I don’t remember what it was, but suddenly, it clicked and she started flying through the worksheet! I was so thrilled that I silently threw my hands in the air grinning , high-fived her and said,”We did it!” To which she replied with a smile, “No, I did it. You didn’t do anything!” Lol! I thought I was going to run out of methods and when I finally found the right words, I was ecstatic! We tend to do the same thing even with other adults, especially when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Everybody has a cultural background and worldview that significantly affects the way they understand the world and communicate information. If we can’t tap into it somehow when we talk to them, their ability to understand is greatly diminished.
- I don’t give others enough credit. This one came from the same instance as the last one, when she told me that she’d figured everything out on her own it reminded me of myself. There are lots of times where I take credit for things that I didn’t do (alone). I’m often fooled into thinking that I don’t need help and that I’ve accomplished a lot on my own, when in fact, I’ve had someone guiding me the entire time. Humbling.
- Never underestimate other people’s wisdom (Especially the people you want to write off). Last week, a few minutes before their recess, I walked past a group of three 2nd graders and overheard one of them say that, “I’m gonna kick everyone’s butt on the tether-ball court.” I was mildly surprised to hear such strong language from a young lady, but it was an opportunity to teach, so I took it. “It isn’t very nice to kick people, it might hurt them,” I smile as I spoke in jest. She looked at me with an empty expression that told me that she didn’t catch my joke. I kept smiling and continued, “I think you could probably come up with a nicer way to treat people on the tether-ball court.” She looked at her friends and then back at me, “Okay.” “Thank you,” I smiled and walked away. Behind me I hear her whisper, “He doesn’t get it!” Lol! Remember when you were younger and your parents didn’t understand anything?! And as you grew, they got more and more clueless until you hit your 20s and all of a sudden, they started to develop some sort of wisdom? Yeah, this was totally that. Except, if you’re like me, you’ve found a little bit of understanding and have convinced yourself that though the answer isn’t always so black and white, you can handle things a lot better than most of the people in control now. Cool it, listen first, ask questions, understand them, then try to make small tweaks. God didn’t pass by all the wise people in the world and bring the whole truth to you alone. You may have a piece of it though, and if you can add yours to everybody else’s you’ll have a lot more success than you will trying to throw theirs away and start all over again. Trust me.
Anyway, just a couple humorous stories I wrote down last week and thought I’d share. I urge you, keep on learning from everywhere you can! Grace and peace to you all!