Children teach us best lessons

“Los ninos son como los pajaritos … Tu ensenas volar … Cuando ellos aprenden, estan listos y vuelan.”

A beautiful mother of one of my students spoke these inspiring words in Spanish to me. We were discussing the end of school and how quickly the year had passed.

“The children are like little birds. You teach them to fly…when they learn, they are ready and they fly.” What a profound statement.

I still miss the children. They rejuvenated my life. The world of children brings faith and trust. They can argue one minute and be arm-and-arm the next. Their forgiveness is overwhelming, and their unconditional love is amazing.

When I told the students of my upcoming retirement, many tears were shed.

“Teacher, you don’t love us anymore?” “You’re going to write books? Can’t you do that at night?”

It was hard to close my school door for the last time. After 31 years, you learn a lot about a child’s world. Is it any wonder that Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15 NRSV).

Children will always be a part of me, and hopefully I will keep the many attributes they imparted. The simple trust and faith of children’s traits are something I need every day. Blessings from my students have taught me many things, and I remember them all. Here are just a few:

“It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” a student said during a social studies lesson.

A student and his father came to my room one morning with a beautiful cake they had made. “We want to bless you with a cake.” They didn’t know my mother was seriously ill.

Just to know someone else wanted to bless me was a comfort. Nothing done for God is ever wasted. What may seem to some as small becomes great in the eyes of a hurting soul.

One student said, “We have to go on to third grade because we’re growing up.”

Then I remembered the trauma I felt when our own sons began to leave the nest.

“You’ve been wonderful parents, but it’s time for me to grow up,” our last son said as he hugged me tight. My tears fell on his feet, yet in my heart, I knew I had to let go.

The lesson? You treasure the time you have with those you love, and then you let them leave. One by one I sent our sons to the next stage of life. I also sent my students to soar in success on wings of love and prayers.

Children are a priceless treasure, and they grow up all too soon. Like the precious mother said to me, “You teach them. When they learn, then they are ready and they fly.

Expressing love is like “hugs” from God. Children are famous for that. While walking down the hall one day, I heard a third-grader say to another teacher, “That’s my teacher from last year. She loves me.”

If a child’s affection fills my heart with delight, how much more does my affection for God cause him delight? I, too, want to hear him say, “That’s my child down there. She loves me.”