Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Am a Child of God

I taught college students who were preparing to become teachers for a year at BYUI. I was asked to give a presentation on the Code of Ethics required by the State of Idaho. One point was that you could not teach anything religious like the song, "I Am a Child of God" Parenthetically I stated that while public teachers cannot teach songs like "I Am a Child of God" they had better treat each student like he/she was a child of God.
When I was teaching kindergarten in a public school, I decided I was going to like every child by the end of the year. Some were a bigger challenge than others, like the boy whose mother told me there were diapers in his back pack in case I needed them. (We had him potty-trained in less than a week. I have learned that most deficiencies a child has are really caused by the parent.) I learned to like this boy eventually and enjoy his guileless enthusiasm.
One girl caused lots of problems on the playground. One day she had been sent to my room during the lunch hour to wait for her aunt to come and pick her up. The aunt was beside herself and had her own family to take care of. She had explained to me earlier that this girl's mother had screamed through the phone to the little girl that she didn't want her.
As the little girl sat crying on my lap, I wondered what I could tell her. I couldn't tell her things would be better because I knew they probably wouldn't. All I could think was to love her and teach her that though she couldn't control others, she always had the choice to act how she wanted.
That experience caused me to think a lot. There were many kids in hard circumstances. I was powerless to change their circumstances. I decided that the best thing I could do was to make sure their experience in my class was one where they felt like a child of God.

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