With the arrival of August, we begin to think about school starting. When I think of school, I think of a poem that my Aunt Loyal Epperson penned at the end of one of her tests. The poem went as follows:
“Can’t think too dumb; Inspiration won’t come.
Bad ink, bum pen; That’s all! Amen!”
I cannot imagine my Aunt Loyal struggling with any test because she skipped at least one grade in school.
The theme for the Current this month is “Jesus in the Classroom.” The question we need to challenge ourselves with is, “What are some ways that we may represent Jesus in school?”
One way to represent Jesus in the classroom is by treating every person with respect and kindness. I Peter 2:17 says, “Honor all men.” We demonstrate respect to every student by being courteous and friendly, speak to every person. Oftentimes, older students in school think it is cool to ignore or snub younger students. However, when older students speak to younger students and are courteous to them, these expressions of respect build value and esteem in younger students. And the younger students will always remember the older students for it; whether in school or with students at church. I remember when we first came to Tates Creek, our son, Joel, was a freshman in high school. I remember how kind, respectful, and friendly the juniors and seniors in the high school youth group were to Joel. They were very thoughtful to include Joel in outings and hanging out together. I also remember Elizabeth and Joel playing in the church orchestra and how the older members of the orchestra expressed interest in Elizabeth and Joel. Our children were very encouraged and blessed by the interest shown in their lives.
Another way to represent Jesus in the classroom is by demonstrating respect for the teachers. When we obey the teacher, or when we, as teachers, comply with the direction of the principal, we honor the authority that God has placed over us. Usually, students demonstrate respect for teachers by the way they have learned to demonstrate respect for their parents in the home. I read where one little girl did not like her first day at school. When her mother asked her why she did not like her first day of school, she said, “I don’t know how to read. I don’t know how to write. And they won’t let me talk.”
One of the best ways to model Jesus in the classroom is with our attitude. Having a positive attitude expresses a great heart. One way to have a positive attitude is to say, “Yes!” to those around us. Do we have a “Yes” face, or do we have a “No” face? A “No” face does not encourage people or build them up. But a “Yes” face really encourages people. Plus, a positive spirit is contagious; it is infectious; it rubs off on other people around us. Jesus was a very positive person. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7, 8.
Another way to represent Jesus in the classroom is through service. A heart of service thinks of the needs of the people around us and meets those needs. Philippians 2:4 says, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Be willing to help those who are around us, whether it is fellow classmates, younger classmates or teachers. Be ready to do whatever is necessary to help someone.
Finally, one more idea of how to represent Jesus in the classroom is by doing our best. Whether we are doing homework or studying for a test, or we are the teacher and we are preparing lessons or decorating our classroom. When we do our best or give our best effort, we demonstrate the heart of God when He gave us His best through His Son, Jesus Christ.
As a student, I really liked school. Knowing this, my Dad would tease me by saying that he needed me to stay home and help him on the farm for the day. Then, he would laugh. Or when we would bring our report cards home, Dad would read our report cards out loud and tease us about our grades. Dad would say, “A is for Awful; B is for Bad.” We asked him what kind of grades he received in school, and he said, “D is for Dandy; and F is for Fine.” Then, he would laugh again.
Another great memory that I have from school is that our lunches in Elementary School (Grades 1 thru 8) were home-cooked lunches. They were so delicious.
As my parents would remind me and my siblings often, “School days are some of the best days of your life!” I would add that school days are some of the best times to represent Jesus in the classroom!