RITE OF PASSAGE: Back to School Wisdom
‘Tis the season . . . for children to head back to school. A friend once told me that school is the smartest place in the world. The children come the first day thinking they know everything and leave the last day knowing nothing. Somewhere in between, that knowledge is lost.
I am a strong believer in education, but getting an education is not enough. Skills and wisdom must accompany it. I have worked with young people who were highly educated, but didn’t have enough sense to get out of the rain, as my granddad used to say.
I received an e-mail recently about “The Wisdom of Children.” Using “children” and “wisdom” in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron, but asking their advice can make you . . . smile. Someone asked these children, “If you could give one piece of advice to another person, what would you say?” Here are some of their answers:
1. When your dad is mad and he asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.
2. Never tell your mom her diet is not working.
3. If you want a kitten, ask for a horse.
4. Never trust your dog to watch your food.
5. Don’t squat while wearing spurs.
6. When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
7. Stay away from prunes.
8. Don’t pull your dad’s finger . . . even if he tells you to.
9. Never hold a Dustbuster and a cat at the same time.
10. When you get a bad grade in school, wait to show it to your mom until she’s on the phone.
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Jesus had been a public school teacher with middle school students for disciples? I think it would have gone something like this:
Jesus takes his class on a field trip, and begins to teach His lesson. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heave . . . Yes, John?”
“I have to go to the john; excuse me, the restroom.”
“Can it wait?”
“Blessed are the meek . . . Yes, Peter?”
“Judas took my milk money!”
“Judas, give back Peter his 30 cents. Blessed are you that mourn. Blessed are you when persecuted . . . what now, James?”
“John is bothering me.”
“How is he bothering you?”
“He has his foot on my robe.”
“If you two brothers can’t get along, I will have a bolt of lighting come down and separate you. Blessed are you when you suffer, be glad and rejoice for great is your reward . . . what now, Peter?”
“Could you repeat that? My stylus ran out of ink.”
“You mean we have to write this down?”
“No, Andrew, but . . . what is it, James?”
“Will there be a test on this?”
“Be . . . yes, Philip?”
“Jesus, do we have any more bread or fish? I’m starving!”
“Be glad and rejoice, for great is your reward in Heaven. Now, Bartholomew, what do you want?
“Do we have to turn this in?”
“Thomas, do you need something?”
“I doubt that John really had to go to the bathroom, I think he is just playing hooky.”
“My camel ate my homework.”
“Matthew, you know you don’t have a camel.”
Next, the Pharisees asked to see Jesus’ lesson plan because his class had tested below the national percentile . . . and Jesus wept.
Educating children is not easy these days. Just a few months ago, I spent some time teaching in a public school classroom. I realized again that our schools reflect the wrongs in our society: lack of respect for authority, dysfunctional families and more. Teachers face problems every day that reach far beyond the subjects they teach.
Now would be a good time to ask your children’s teachers: “How can I pray for you?” Then commit to pray for them . . . often. Pray that God would give them wisdom as they deal with classroom problems, that the spirit of peace would be evident there and that your child will be a child of peace.
“Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.” (Mark 10:1)