A Teacher Counts Her Blessings

Last month, Pastor Ray encouraged SRPC attendees to “count your blessings. . . .and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”    Here’s a letter that Polly Ebert, first grade teacher, wrote in response:
Dear Ray,
Thanks for the shout out to teachers today.  So often I wonder if I’m making a difference with my kids.  Do they know they’re loved by me and Jesus?  Are the things I’m telling them going to stick with them when life gets hard?  I love what I do.  It’s like parenting without the consistent fear of messing up.
It’s like I’m a grandma to my students and sometimes a mom to their parents.  I get to both nurture and teach.  I have the awesome privilege to hear about unanswered prayers, moms that run red lights, and new baby siblings.  I get to help them navigate through grandpa’s death, unfair rules, and assure them God can forgive their uncle who’s in jail.
In class, I get the best of both worlds.  I can parent without the competition of phones, iPads, and T.V.  I can teach, and my words are totally accepted as truth.  Six-year-old children love Jesus with such wild abandon.  They don’t judge me and never mind that I cry when explaining about Abraham listening to God about sacrificing Isaac or when I ‘tsk’ at Samson being duped yet again by an unbelieving woman.  (What was he thinking?)  Sometimes I stray from our curriculum when we discuss how to stop an artery that’s bleeding, bullies on team sports, or the fact that, “Yes, Johnny, your pee gets darker if you don’t drink enough water,” because God made these wonderful little things called kidneys.
Today’s kids know so much more than we did growing up.  They come into class asking about people killing babies and North Korea’s “Rocket Man.” Some have two sets of parents, some only one parent, and some have grandparents raising them.  All of that doesn’t make a difference when they walk through that door in the morning because they know they are loved, that they are image bearers of God, and that they matter.  I am blessed to get the chance to help them through this one year, this tiny part of their lives.
I’m starting to wonder when some little snippet fresh from college will be here to take my place.  Even when that happens, I’ll still come into class just to listen to the little people tell me their hopes and cry when I read to them about how God loves three-legged dogs no one wants and kids named Chrysanthemum who get picked on for their name.
Thanks for helping me appreciate what I do.  -Polly