By Ronnie McBrayer
Curtain climbers. Yard monkeys. Cherubs. Whippersnappers. Ankle biters. I don’t know what you call them, but our children have been turned loose on the world. School is out for summer (at least it ends this week here where I live). By the end of summer I’m afraid my description of these little animals will be a bit stronger. I’ll be ready for them to return to the classroom.
Still, I appreciate their euphoria. I can recall the butterflies that formed in my stomach as summer break approached each year: “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.” So, I still get giddy this time of year just thinking about summer. But the real happiness is found in empty classrooms where teachers are dancing with unmitigated joy. At least I know my sons’ teachers are dancing. Preachers’ kids are the worst, you know.
It’s been said that if teachers were paid like professional athletes, and athletes were paid like teachers, our society would be a much better place. Amen to that. But money is not the reason these men and women give themselves to the classroom. They teach because they love working with children or a particular subject. They teach because as a student, they themselves were greatly influenced by a teacher. In fact, influence seems to be the real reason teachers teach. Only parents and close family members have the kind of unparalleled impact on youngsters as teachers. The influence is incalculable.
Too many times we who stand behind pulpits or travel to the “mission field” (whatever that means) monopolize the market on doing God’s work. But everyone has opportunity to do the work of God. This is doubly true for teachers.
Sure, there are a few bad apples in the educational barrel; you can find these kinds of folks in all career fields. Yet, teachers are a heroic lot who deserve our support, admiration, and even our prayers. God knows if I were matched against twenty-five second graders every day, I’d want someone praying for me.
And to my sons’ middle school teachers, a final word before you slip into the rapture of a kid-less summer: My wife and I have one more son coming your way. As he has been cultured by his older brothers, he may be the most challenging one yet. So accept my apology in advance. I’ll be praying for you.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.