For many of you, the new school year has started. It’s a mixed blessing isn’t it? On one hand you get back to a schedule and more time for yourself. On the other hand, you miss the fun playing with your children, the sleeping in and the freedom that summer brings.
One activity my children loved was getting ready for school: the new clothes and shoes, the new backpack and especially all the new school supplies.
But I read an article in Reader’s Digest that really zoned in on what else is important when our children go to school.
Yes, subjects like math and reading are important but shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community along with teaching them the Word is the foundation of teaching.
Let me share the story:
“Every Friday afternoon this teacher would ask her students to write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit with the following week. They understand that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
After the children go home, she studies these papers. She is looking for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, this teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” She is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down – right away – who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
What a brilliant idea. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of the students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those children who need a little help, who need adults to step in and teach them how to make friends, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying is usually done outside her eyeshot and the kids are too intimidated to share.
The truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.
I asked her how long she had been using this system. Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.
She understands that all violence begins with disconnection. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. Children who aren’t being noticed may eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.”
So, now that school has started back, perhaps we can pay a little more attention to the children in our children’s classrooms and those getting off the bus. We can’t see as much as their teachers can, but perhaps we can reach out in our own little circle of influence and make a difference in a child’s life.
Manna from Heaven
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4
I hope you had a wonderful summer with your loved ones! I was able to spend time with my children and granddaughter and it was wonderful. And I’m glad to be back writing and sharing with you.