“Whatever you have done to the very least of my people,
you have done to me.”
From Matthew 25:31-46
I spent moer than two decades of my teaching career with the most reluctant readers in our schools. Part of these children’s problems presented themselves in the form of a complete lack of confidence. Another measure was the result of a lack of exposure. Poor test-taking skills and the negative behavior that came with failure added to the completely mistaken impression that these children simply did not have the ability to learn. I think each of us can offer examples of the far-too-quick learning of the children around us, especially when they hear once and repeat verbatim something that we wish we had never said. Since my students were no exception in this regard, I was certain that they could learn. Each time one of them picked up a book and read fluently for the first time, my heart soared alongside my student’s heart. This is the good news.
The not-so-good news presented itself in those rare students who were extremely difficult to love. These were the children who somehow learned to bully very early on, who knew precisely what to say to disarm any adult within earshot and who insisted that they could not care less that no one in the school looked upon them as a friend. These are the children with whom I worked hardest for years on end and whose whispered “thank you” was my greatest reward.
Interestingly enough, these children taught me that their adult counterparts respond just as positively to the same tender, persistent and loving care.
Dearest Lord, thank you for opening my eyes and allowing me to see your face in my most difficult of your children. Today, help me to do the same with the difficult adults I will encounter. I like your face, Jesus, and I want to see you often!