I never wanted to be a teacher.
Growing up like most children, I thought I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor or even the man who rode around in the ice cream truck every day on my street. But a teacher?
But now being a new Sunday school teacher within my church for our teens’ class, I have a new found respect for teachers everywhere.
Initially when I was asked to take this assignment, my mind automatically rejected the idea. The idea of sitting in a room full of teenage boys and girls for an hour trying to teach them about the bible held no appeal for me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed being a student in my adult Sunday school class, the thought of being a teacher never entered my mind.
But I soon discovered that being a teacher didn’t mean I stopped being a student. True, I was the “leader” so to speak of the class, and yes it was my responsibility to teach a revelant lesson each week. But teaching the lesson, put me in a better postion to be the one being taught.
And perhaps one of the greatest lessons my students taught me was about love.
Love moved me to answer the need my church had for a teen sunday school teacher. But just being moved by love wasn’t enough.
I had to learn how to love them.
They didn’t just need someone to bring them a cardboard lesson each week and try and hold their attention for an hour. They needed someone who would tailor lessons for them and make it applicable for their everyday living.
They needed someone who would nuture the individuals they were, while trying to mold and shape the one they would become.
They needed someone who would love them enough to lay aside being the “teacher” and sit and become a student of the Word with them.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning had it right when she wrote, “How do I love thee?”
To love someone isn’t the hard part. How to love them is.
Because it requires us to look beyond our needs and meet someone else’s. And when you think about it, if everyone tried to meet the needs of those they loved, at the end of the day, all of our needs would have been met.
And in the big scheme of all that really matters, we all have a need to be loved.
Loving one another meets the commandment we were given to love, but how we love each other gives a voice to the true testament of what that love is really about.