And A Little Child Shall Lead Them …
” … The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and a little child shall lead them.” – Isaiah 11:6 NKJV
Although I fully realize that placing a photo of Greta Thunberg in this post associated with any text of scripture will stir some controversy — especially with my conservative theology friends — I will gladly accept the risk.
This year I accepted a teaching job with our local public school district. I am only 12 weeks into the job and already I am learning just how important this generation will become to the future of our nation and our world.
Greta has been making headlines for quite some time now, with her global message of environmental awareness and of course, her political stance on such. Her mission is not the point of my blog post today.
I am passionate about the children of my hometown and my nation — America. As parents of three amazing children here on earth, and one beautifully conceived baby in Heaven, my bride and I are learning more and more about how the imagination and creative energy of the minds of children can literally shape nations.
Sheryl has been teaching in public and private schools for nearly all our married life. I have taught in church settings, but through the years I have learned from my wife and her peers the enormous challenges of teaching in the public [and private] school settings. Education, as an industry, is in trouble. The architects of both public and private education are constantly evaluating, revamping, and revitalizing the methods and mission of HOW we teach our children.
Mississippi gets ragged and ridiculed all the time for our “bottom of the barrel” ratings and reviews in almost every sector of the Education arena. What we may lack in funds and resources, we certainly make up for in amazing talent — both in our children and in their educators. (Ref: MississippiSucceeds)
I realize more every day, that the students I teach are desperately longing for an adult in their world to give them a few very basic human needs: Love, Dignity, and Respect.
Love is often universally confused with the giddy feelings of a momentary affection for someone, or some thing. Children do not need our giddy teeny-bopper friendship all the time. They need to know that we like to have fun and are willing to take a break from the rigors of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, ultimately they need to know they are unconditionally loved and wanted. You and I cannot offer them this type of love unless we are willing to know them and to understand them.
Dignity is almost a lost art in today’s angry and highly opinionated world of harsh words and outlandish reality show behaviors. The children I get to teach every day are our hometown kids. I know many of their families. I understand some of their challenges and frustrations. As a local minister, my church and I are blessed to be a blessing to some of them and their families. But, I do not fully understand all that they face, unless I choose to show them the level of dignity that all persons deserve. I must dignify their personhood. I must see this world through their lens. I must attempt to know their struggles. Only then, will I truly understand how to offer them the dignity that they deserve and so desperately need to feel.
Respect is so much more than that catchy phrase from Queen Aretha’s popular tune — which is one of my all time favs! If I respect you, I will hear you. If I respect you, I will see you. If I respect you, I will listen to you. If I respect you, I will honor your feelings and emotions. If I respect you, I will choose to guide you. If I respect you, I will engage in conversation with you — especially when your opinion and/or personal viewpoint sharply differ from mine.
My prayer everyday is that God will empower me with His Holy Spirit and that I will choose to walk in Love, Dignity, and Respect towards the children that I have been commissioned to teach, towards my coworkers who are all-in as a team of amazing leaders, and towards the One who holds this entire system of mostly chaotic humanity together.
If I will … if WE will … then, hopefully … we will see that glorious day … when a little child shall lead them [us] … to a much better and brighter future.