The Greatest Teachers
I consider myself a decent teacher. From the time I was a teenager, I had tutored younger students. I tutored the children of friends and acquaintances before I became a mom.
And once my daughter was born, I began planning ways to teach her. I sat and watched “Your Baby Can Read” videos with her from the time she was a few months old. I created giant word cards and flashed them at her long before she had learned to talk. I bought a set of math dots and used those. I put up pictures of colors along with that color word right in front of her bouncer-seat: green grass and grapes and trees and a mug and a sweater.
When my sons came along, they got the same input (along with the extra input that an older sibling or two provides). I loved to make the most of teachable moments, a gift my mother instinctively had and a skill I tried to build.
I considered myself a decent teacher.
Then Allen, at three years old, climbed onto my lap one morning. “I love you,” he told me, and before I could answer, he went on to say, “And I love Daddy and I love Aiden and I love Jessica…” He continued until he had named pretty much every person he knew or could remember at the time.
And I realized there is more to teach than words and numbers and facts. And my son was teaching me this.
A few days later was Aiden’s first birthday. That evening, Allen began giving a multitude of kisses and cuddles to my husband. Aiden, who was fully focused on his birthday gift, placed it down and crawled up to daddy. He copied his brother’s behavior and started giving his daddy “kisses.”
Love. Forgiveness. Time. How often do I withhold those? Give them only to those who I feel deserve it? When three-year-olds (and one-year-olds) naturally spill over with contagious love. Perhaps a reason Jesus said we should be like children—not only to enter the Kingdom one day, but to find a place of joy, peace, spontaneity, and love today.
I still consider myself a decent teacher. But I’m also a student. And sometimes my children teach me far more than I teach them.