I will never forget the question at the conclusion of her letter, “Anyway, I was wondering how you, as a public school teacher, deal with it?”
A college student, majoring in science, wrote a letter to me many years ago. What was “it” she was referring to in her last paragraph?”
Was she questioning how she as a teacher would deal with discipline, low salaries and parental apathy? What about at risk students, individual differences, testing and more testing? Never could we overlook dealing with violence in our schools.
The reply to all of the above was and still is a resounding, “NO.”
Her haunting question was, “How do you, as a Christian, legally share your faith with students in our public schools?”
My response was you couldn't major on the legality. I definitely did not mean you ignore the law of the land. But, you can expose your students to Christianity in a real sense by your lifestyle of Christ like actions and reactions.
I'm afraid some teachers, including myself before I retired, fit the descriptive evaluation made by an innocent child. When told to draw a picture of his teacher he said quite honestly, “Oh, I can't make a picture of my teacher. I don't have a gray color.”
Could any of our students say that about us? Do they see us as stern, unsmiling, blah and aloof…hiding from them behind our desk, overwhelmed and colorless?
I hope not. You know, I don't think anyone ever described my Lord as someone who reminded him or her of a gray color. If we were to draw a picture of Him, we must use the color pink. Pink brings to my mind compassion and sensitively, gentle warmth and deep concern.
As teachers, color us pink.
Red has to be in His picture. He was and is alive with energy and enthusiasm. He has the power to motivate, the gift of laughter, and the ability to up lift and create.
As teachers, color us red.
Blue. We must not leave out blue. This color reminds me of the vastness of the skies and the unending solar system we are part of. There was no end to his patience to build bridges between others…to his powers to change the lives of those whom He came in contact with.
As teachers, color us blue.
My favorite color is yellow. In the picture of our Lord we must use broad, bright strokes of yellow. There was darkness in the world over 2000 years ago. He brought light to the worth of each individual.
As teachers, color us yellow.
I concluded my letter of long ago with these words,” When you are pulled in every direction, keep on keeping on with your science lesson plans. But, also teach them by example about acceptance and patience and responsibility and even about love.”
P.S. Teachers…don't forget to take a big box of crayons with you each day to add color and enthusiasm to your job when all you can feel and whisper is, “Color me tired.” I know first hand that color of tiredness after 32 years in the classroom.