I suspect we are all pretty ready for them to receive a well-deserved raise. For especially if you’ve been homeschooling your children during this stay-put season, you no doubt have discovered a newfound admiration for teachers who deal with our kids every day. You may even be able to sympathize a little with the woman who was seen out early one morning scraping the “My Kid Is a Terrific Student” sticker off of their minivan. For I’m just guessing that the first week of homeschooling didn’t go all that well in her house.
On the other hand, what an amazing opportunity this is for parents and children to step into each other’s worlds, with dads and moms working at home while simultaneously trying to keep their kids’ learning curves going upward. For despite the importance of public and private education, long ago the scriptures commanded parents and grandparents—as well as others blessed to be a part of children’s lives–to be the ones to teach the words of God to our children and talk of them all the time. (Deuteronomy 6.6-7) Likewise, the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, reminded us in Proverbs 22.6 that we should “start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee for those “middle years.”)
And all of this is because, as the psalmist reminded us, children are indeed a “heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127.3) In turn, it’s the job of parents and loved ones to prepare their children for the day when they will leave home and enter into that wider world beyond. And the biggest way in which our kids will learn is simply by watching their elders model what it means to be responsible to others as well as to the Lord.
So if you want to teach your children how to treat others kindly, for example, then let them see you write a thank you note for a gift, or step across the street to help a neighbor. What’s more, let them see the why behind what you are doing and encourage them to ask questions. And get used to the idea that you’re probably going to have to re-teach a skill far more than once.
To be sure, there’s probably a reason why James 3.1 tells us that “not many of you should become teachers,” for the truth is, it’s pretty hard work indeed. But at least for now, that’s the role God seems to be giving to many during our stay-at-home shutdowns, and as has often been said, God does not so much call the equipped as He equips the called. Perhaps one gift of the coronavirus is to be reminded that all along, thus, it’s been our job to teach our children about who God is and what it means to follow Him as disciples in this world.
And in the meantime, if math and science homework are eating your lunch, hang on, friends. For the public schools, at least in our area, are starting back with mandatory on-line classes next week for those of all ages.
We really should be paying those teachers more, though, shouldn’t we?