The first month of school has been a challenge for her. Anxiety. New environment. New teachers. New classmates. New routine. It’s a difficult combination...a whole lot of new for someone who struggles with change. Often when life is hard on the child, life is hard on the teacher. Not to mention, most of us have some of those same feelings when it comes to new. Everybody’s adjusting...and adjusting isn’t what we are usually good at. We like our comfort zone...and so do ten year olds.
Anxiety makes us panic. Do things we might not normally do. For some, they become overly sensitive. Others start to grasp for control. What appears to be intimidating others really is just internal panic that just can’t be properly handled. We had that conversation when she let me inside her mind after her most recent difficulty. We sat in my office and she let me in on the struggle waging war inside of her.
It’s funny how the voices in our mind can take what we know is false and make it our truest reality. Satan knows what we think is the key to driving how we act. So as I sat there and listened to her talk about how she feels, the main idea that is dominating her thinking kept coming to the front. Her words, “I get in trouble everywhere.”
Behind those words I can feel what she really thinks, “Nobody cares.”
So I ask her, “Who do you know that cares about you in this building?” Her reply, “I don’t know.” Enemy. “Let’s go for a walk,” I say. I take her down to the hallway she ran through two years ago. We knock on a door. The teacher stops what she’s doing, comes out into the hallway, sees her with me, her face turns to disappointment. Until I ask, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but it seems I have a young lady who has forgotten how you feel about her. Would you mind taking just a minute to remind her?” Teachers face lights up. She smiles, hugs the little girl, and begins to tell her how much she meant to her, how much potential she has, and how gifted she is. She can do whatever she wants, be whatever she desires, and go wherever she wants to go. She has the whole world in front of her...if she makes wise choices.
The little girl’s eyes go from the floor up to the face of the voice she recognizes. The voice that believed in her, embraced her, loved her, and challenged her. The voice that corrected her, but also the voice that celebrated with her. The voice that confidently said, “You know I love you. You know you have so much ability. You know you can do it. I loved having you in my room because you have so much ability. Now go do it.”
“Yes ma’am. Thank you,” she replies. Her face lights up with a grin that seems to recognize where she is, who she is, and what she is capable of. We walk back to her classroom. There is a different bounce in her step. She wears a smile now. She moves with a little more confidence, a little more life. I put my arm around her as we walk down the hallway. She puts hers back around me. It’s “thank you” enough. It’s energizing. It gives me hope. It reaffirms my faith.
The enemy knows there is a voice that is stronger than his. There is a voice that is greater than negativity, disappointment, and failure. It’s a voice that will never fail. It doesn’t matter if it is two years removed. It doesn’t matter how desperate times are, or how many voices have tried to overcome it. It’s the voice of faith. It’s the voice of hope. It’s the voice of love. It’s the voice of the one who captured the heart first. It’s the voice of God. And for many of us, it comes through a teacher.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” 1 John 4:16-17