my journey – part 21

One time I tried to teach children to speak English. Their native tongue made it very hard for them, and they constantly struggled.

I would explain instructions slowly, in simple words.

They didn’t understand.

I would ask them to repeat the instructions.

They didn’t understand.

I would tell them again, in simpler, slower words. I felt sure they’d get it. I felt sure my point was made.
They didn’t understand.

No matter what I tried, there was still that barrier,
an absolute mountain that stood in the way
of passing what I knew onto them.

I was so frustrated. I was at a loss. All I wanted to do was to take these kids, to tell them that I loved them, and to teach them everything I knew.

And then it hit me.

In life I sit in a class, and at the blackboard stands God,
the All-Mighty God of the universe,
who is speaking to me in a wonderful and complex language of Love.

And I don’t understand.

And I hope that when I finally get something, that when a light finally turns on up in my head,

God smiles,

and feels a joy beyond compare.

I think that everyone should be forced to teach English as a second language. The lessons learned from watching people struggle with something you natively understand and not being able to communicate with them I think provides an interesting perspective on how God must see us at times.

The two summers I spent in that classroom were eye-opening in so many ways. As a teacher, I desire to pass knowledge on to my students – ultimately for my understanding of the subject to be given to them. Somehow, no matter how hard I tried, there were those who simply couldn’t get it.

But I think one of the funniest things was that it wasn’t the success of the students who never had a problem that gave me the most joy. It was when one of the slow ones – the ones who never got anything – when it clicked for one of those students, every minute of frustration was worth it.

I still wonder what God thinks as he looks at my life. I don’t know where I fit in the scheme of “fast” or “slow” learners – from my perspective it’s “slow” far too often. But I have a feeling that God feels somewhat like I did. I have a feeling that when we get something, when the light finally clicks for us, God smiles.

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