Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were younger? I remember one of the things I wanted most to be was a teacher. I dreamed of standing in front of a group of children and helping them learn all the basics of education.
A little while ago I realized I am living out my dream. There is still much of that little girl in me, and once in a while I meet up with her, catch a glimpse of her in the woman I am today. Sometimes she smiles and thanks me for making her dreams come true, and other times there is disappointment in her face – but I’ll leave those thoughts for another day. And there are times when the little girl inside me shows me something about myself – something so beautiful and rare and precious.
Sometimes she shows me that God’s plans reign supreme, and no matter how many mistakes I made or how much others have hurt me, no matter how bruised and battered I feel some days, God has always been working out His plans for me, whether I saw that truth or not.
And so even though I don’t get a teacher’s salary or stand in front of a classroom full of children every weekday, I am still living out my dream of being a teacher. The four walls of my home are my classroom, the two little faces most dear to my heart are the students that look to me for direction and wisdom. My teaching aids are my Bible, my life and my heart. My curriculum consists of the most ancient words on earth and how to live out those words in our lives today.
Teachers rarely just “wing it”. They learn the material before they teach it to their students. They plan and prepare and have lesson plans and attend training workshops and rely on support from other teachers. They are guided by the principal of the school. They pour out more than 30 hours a week with the children in their classrooms.
And so I must make sure I am learning my material well, developing the faith in my own life that I hope to pass along to my sons. I must plan and prepare for my role. I must find resources and ideas and have an idea of what I want to teach my children that day or that week. I must gather around me others who are filling the same role, so we can support each other in that role. And I must take my guidance from God, let Him help me with issues that may arise, trust Him to carry me through whatever comes.
I send my sons to school to learn the basics of education – math, English, science, art, music, geography, history, etc. They will go to school 30 hours a week, for about 40 weeks a year, for at least 14 years of their lives – that’s almost 17,000 hours of school before they graduate high school. They should be able to learn all the basics they need to know in that time frame.
But what about the most important lessons? The ones that teach them about God’s love for them, about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, about the hope and wonder and freedom that comes from following Christ? If I left it up to the Sunday school teachers and youth pastors at church, they would have about one hour a week, about 50 weeks a year, for about 15 years (let’s say ages 3-18) – that’s about 750 hours.
I have read over and over in books and magazines and articles and studies that parents are the greatest influencers in a child’s life. Good and bad, Josh and I are shaping our sons into the men they will become. This really scares me most of the time – the responsibility of it all – but instead of hiding under the covers and leaving all the shaping for someone else to do, I am peering out of my safe cocoon of procrastination and low confidence, and I’m realizing that God made me the mother of these boys – ME! And that is one job I am so thankful for, it is the best job I could ever hope for, it is my best dream come true.
And with that job comes another dream come true – I get to be a teacher. I am slowly but surely getting more and more excited about my role in sharing faith with the boys, growing with them, learning with them, all of us becoming more of who we were meant to be with each Bible story, each conversation about God, each fun activity that teaches a truth, each task we take on to bless another.
I always feel like I am only just beginning on this journey of teaching my boys about the One who loves them more than I ever could. I think it’s because every time I learn something new about God, that one thing shows me ten more things, and I realize there will never be enough time in this life to learn all there is to learn. So I will take what I can, show the boys what I can, never stop learning, never stop growing, and look forward to the day when I will see God face to face.
Watching all the Veggie Tales videos wasn’t enough, reading all the stories in the Toddler Bible wasn’t enough, taking them to church on Sundays isn’t enough – it’s not that I’m being self-defeating – quite the opposite – what I’m realizing is that it will never be the end. I will never get to a place where I think, There, I’ve taught them all they need to know about God, the Bible, Jesus and the basics of christian living. I will never get to that place because it doesn’t exist. Neither can I sit back in my own life and think, I’ve finally arrived. I finally know all I need to know about my faith. Now I can move on to something else…
More and more I come back to a place of anticipation, of excitement, of pure joy at the thought of the very special role I have in my son’s lives to teach them about God. I feel this growing sense of euphoria because it means something wonderful for my own life – it means I must learn and grow too. Teach them what I’ve already learned – yes – but also teach them what I’m learning today, tomorrow, five years from now. My faith will increase as I strive to show them how their faith can increase. It is inevitable and it is awesome.
So I sit and type and put all these thoughts together into one most magnificent realization – that little girl inside me is smiling so big, so bright, so full of joy. She will be a teacher, and she will teach about the best thing in life – her Saviour. And she will teach it to the students who hold the dearest place in her heart – her two sons.
Lord, please help the teacher in me to teach only what you want me to teach, when you want me to teach it. Show me how to go about this wonderfully huge and important role you’ve given me. Let my boys learn from me and grow with me as we always seek to know You more.
– I’ll give this post a home in the Faith At Home section of this blog.