Time flies, but I can remember some things clearly from when I was a third grader. We packed a suitcase for our trip to Hawaii and took it to school one day. My peers and I knew our trip was pretend, of course, but Miss Schwai did a marvelous job of making our day very real.
We took over the library for an entire day. In one section, we scattered our beach towels on the floor and pretended to sun bathe in Hawaii. But, that was after we watched a film strip about flying and discussed what we had learned about Hawaii and what we were looking forward to experiencing.
For a while we sat at tables and colored large index cards into pretend postcards. We wrote our parents a note on the other side, telling them about the things we saw in Hawaii that day. When we got home, we put the postcards out for our parents to find and pretended they had received them in the mail.
Our math lessons were related to how many miles we would travel, how much fuel the airplane would use, how deep the water would be at the beach, and the size of whales, dolphins, and sharks.
We were all surprised at lunch time. Instead of going to the lunchroom, we followed Miss Schwai back to our classroom. As we entered our room, room mothers hung a lei around each of our necks, They had moved desks to the side of the room and created a Hawaii luau in the middle of the room. I can still picture the pig’s head at the end of the row of food. We tasted poi and other typical Hawaiian food and were directed to talk as if we were really on a beach. Hawaiian music played in the background.
Why do I remember all of this? Because God used Miss Schwai and this day to inspire me to become a teacher of young children. I knew I’d teach from then on. I never wavered. After teaching second graders for four years, I earned a Ph.D. and served as a university professor for seven years. Twenty-four years ago, I founded Celebrate Kids, Inc.
God equips us the way He knows is best. He also inspires us to respond to His equipping. Let’s not get in children’s way.
Last Wednesday, I blogged about being content as a single adult with Valentine’s Day approaching. When people find out about my love for children and the name of my ministry, they’re even more surprised I’m content not having children of my own. I am.
They’re also surprised I can successfully do what I do and not have children. It’s one of many proofs that God equips us in a variety of ways. We must not assume children can’t do certain things because they haven’t experienced them. Direct experience isn’t always necessary. God’s direction is.
We inspire young people to understand the truths of Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God prepared me when He created me. Psalm 139:13 He knit into me the heart to love, the compassion to feel, the wisdom to react, the perseverance to study with, and so much more. He inspired me through different experiences He orchestrated.
Being deeply loved as a child equipped me to love children – including many I played with, babysat, and eventually taught.
Positive experiences when I was a child equipped me to have a vision for other children.
Being enrolled in community theater when I was young equipped me to understand the power of the stage.
Watching my grandfather, mayor of my city when I was young, give speeches equipped me to understand the power of the spoken word.
Reading, and being challenged and transformed by the truths discovered among books’ pages, equipped me to diligently approach writing as a way of influencing people.
What’s your story? Your children’s? Can you make similar lists? How did God equip you when you were knit together? Your children? What experiences have occurred that have inspired you? Your children? Why are you content (or not)? Your children? God is blessed when we see Him in His proper role.
What can you do NOW to further inspire your children to believe in their gifts, the relevance of their experiences, and their future? Blessings to you as you proceed.