I hope that when I am 20 years into my teaching career and I'm officially an "old pro" I won't have forgotten what a powerful tool prayer is in the classroom.
Today some of my computers class were trying to choose what topic to do a research presentation on. I had given them a fairly broad selection of topic ideas to choose from:
· Research an EASEA school, giving the history of how it started, what type of work program and academic program they have, what type of mission service they do, where they are located, etc.
· Research a person in history and how they have made the world a better place
· Research a charity and make a compelling appeal for funds
· Research a harmful food substance and explain why it should be avoided
· Research a doctrine and create an engaging bible study
· Research benefits of exercise and craft a compelling appeal for people to exercise more
· Research a disease and how it can be cured
· Research a current issue in society (i.e. child abuse, the financial crisis, high-school dropout rate, abortion etc.) explaining the issue and your solution for it. Your solution must be something plausible (that could really work and would actually change the situation) and you need to explain why/how it is plausible
But, bless their hearts, one or two of them caught on really quickly that I was covertly seeking to limit their choices to uplifting topics, and they took offense to it.
"Uh, hey Miss Beth? Can I do it on ASAP Rocky? (Rap artist) He made the world a better place 'cause he gave us good music ya know!"
"Can I do it on breast cancer? I just really care about all the breasts in the world." (this from a young man..)
20-20 hindsight shows clearly that they were just trying to get me in a verbal headlock... they just wanted to get a rise out of me, and to some extent they did.
Rather than stop and think of the best way to handle it, I responded with an almost knee-jerk response, "Um, no!"
Of course that triggered the defense response and soon I was hearing a rapid fire volley of, "Well what about...?" "What's wrong with...?"
The best thing to do from the start would have been to just smile and say nothing. It would have made the questions appear as the silly questions they are and would have stopped any further discussion. The kids would have chosen a better topic and got to work.
But here I was, trapped in a mess of my own devising. And I was annoyed.
Annoyed at them. Annoyed at myself.
So I stopped and prayed.
And you know, a miracle happened.
Not in my students.. they kept badgering to see how close to the line they could come.
A miracle happened in me. Cause all of a sudden it didn't bother me anymore. Self didn't need to be justified anymore-- I had given my rights away.
And all of a sudden, I loved those kids fiercer than I've ever loved them before.
In a friendly, embracing way I was able to help them find a topic that they were interested in and motivated to research that wouldn't jeopardize their eternal life.
I misrepresented Jesus in that classroom today. Jesus would have stayed quiet, He would have seen beyond the question to the heart, He wouldn't have spoken in a belittling tone, or entered into argument, He would probably have asked an expertly crafted question that would have drawn them to feel their need in a loving way because He would have been in constant communion with His Father and He would have brought the perfect words to His mind the moment He needed them.
And perhaps, when I am 20 years into my teaching career I will still have moments where I misrepresent Jesus.
But I am confident that if and when I do, He will still work miracles in me the moment I call for help.