Once again the parks will be empty during the day as our children are back in the hallways and classrooms of our local schools. For some of you this will be the first time you drop your babies off at school and walk away wondering if it will be okay. For others, like me, you are wondering how and when your little ones got so tall and so grown up. As part of the article today, I thought I would share a piece I wrote about 11 years ago, when my son and daughter were in preschool and kindergarten respectively. Both of their teachers were women, so I hope you men won’t mind that it refers to “her” instead of “him.”
For My Child’s First Teacher
One day late in summer I brought my gift,
tender, shy, and full of wonder,
And there, with my heart full of hope and fear,
I left my little one in your care.
How could I leave God’s precious gift
in the care of someone barely an acquaintance?
I was given the gift to train, to lead,
to be God’s hand extended to a young life.
With a kiss, and a long hug,
on that late summer day,
I turned and walked away,
Praying for my child and praying for you.
God placed that blessing in my hand,
and I had done my best
to plant the seeds of knowledge, of faith, of wonder,
In a forming mind.
I prayed for you as I walked away,
because you had become my partner.
Not just a teacher, a caretaker, a sitter,
but my partner in knowledge and growth.
A year has passed, and through the days,
as he became more independent,
as she became more confident,
I walked away with a silent prayer.
God bless this teacher whom you have called
to serve and train and love these children.
give her joy in her calling, and patience as well,
and bless her for all she has shared.
And now here we stand, on a day late in spring,
as summer’s light is stealing in,
to say good-bye, to graduate my child,
my little one, to a new experience.
You will always be my child’s first teacher,
and you will always be in my heart,
as a teacher, as a mentor, and as a friend,
but most of all as a partner in raising God’s gift to me.
Thank you for all you’ve done and for all you do for our children.
Mary Kay Glunt
May 25, 2001
One of the biggest arguments I hear these days is who has the greatest responsibility in our children’s education. Is it the parents’ responsibility to be sure their child gets a good education? Is it the school board and school staff who are most responsible? Then again, perhaps it is everyone’s responsibility.
Several years ago Hillary Clinton wrote a book called, “It Takes a Village.” I have to admit that I never read her book, but then that was not the first place I heard the saying. Several African families who had come to the U.S. to attend college had that mindset, that it takes a village to raise a child, that we are responsible for the children in our community, not just our own kids.
Jesus welcomed the little children. He took them in his arms and blessed them. He told the disciples to have faith like the little ones. But in our fast-paced society, with all of its activities and responsibilities, we don’t have the time for our own children, much less someone else’s. Why can’t their parents do something for them? It isn’t my responsibility! As Jesus told the disciples, I believe we are responsible for all the children in our communities. Each of us needs to open our hearts and minds to the children and to their needs, and I wanted to mention a few ways you can be a part of the “village” and help our children be successful.
First, Pray, Pray, Pray! Do you know when the school board meets in your community? Do you pray for the members of that organization as they do their business? What about the teachers? Have you prayed for the teachers in the schools—for their finances, for their hopes and dreams, for their families? If not, then why not? Pray for their kids, that God will help them as they grow up alongside your kids and/or grandkids. Pray for those who might be causing the most problems, not for lightning to hit them, but for God’s grace to get ahold of them.
Second, be involved. One of the biggest mistakes we make today is thinking that once we drop the kids off we are scot-free as far as our kids’ education is concerned. But then, if something happens that we dislike, we are very quick to express our mind to the teachers and/or principal. Instead of being an out-of-school-only parent, be a part of your child’s education: Join PTA, volunteer at the schools, know what is going on. Contact your student’s teachers and ask questions. Get to know your child’s friends.
Third, share your faith with those around you. Whether you believe it or not, there is always someone watching you, looking to see if your faith is misplaced or not. Show them the joy of the Lord, help them recognize that God is a faithful and merciful God. Be God’s hand extended.
But I don’t have any kids in school, you might say to me. I put in my time and now that my children are grown up, it is someone else’s problem. To you I say, No Way! You are part of the village, part of the community, and you, too, need to be involved, maybe even more so now! The new school year has started, and we are all part of the community. Support the students and pray for them. Support the teachers and pray for them. Share your gifts with those around you. You are not alone, by any means, because we are one body!
Mary Kay Glunt
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 393, Greenfield, Missouri