... I’d do it better second time around.
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like this, but as my children grow up I have reflected on the expression “these are the best years of your life” and it feels like children want to grow up so quickly, but the growing up seems to mean the loss of innocence and fun. There’s also the song line “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger/stronger” (Ooh La La).
As a parent of four children, I want to help my kids grow up, but I also want to let them have fun in “their way”. 1 Corinthians 13:11 states the obvious: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” but it is wise.
This follows “the love passage” (one of the most frequently quoted passages of the Bible) in 1 Corinthians 13 which can be summarised as: ‘it doesn’t matter how gifted a person is or how loud, dramatic, thrilling or knowledge-filled their presentation, if the presenter is not presenting in love it is a waste of time and energy’.
You may think that some global leaders “trump” other leaders with their manner, but their message and influence is limited by their communication as it is not based on love – it looks like their leadership is for themselves and not for others. You may know people with the same manner.
As a teacher, I believe school is about children learning so that they are effectively grown up and if they don’t learn the necessity of including love in their thinking, planning and presenting they will limit their effectiveness and influence – what they do may be a waste of time.
I remember that as a child:
- I was afraid of the dark
- I thought that I was a “super-fast” runner
- I was afraid of answering the telephone
- I thought there was a correct way to fold your arms
- I thought nobody could see me when I climbed a tree
…and I’m sure there were lots of other things that are different now that I have a better perspective. I don’t think like this anymore because I have matured in my thinking.
Of course, chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians follows on from chapter 12 – where we read about all of the different kinds of gifts and their purpose leading into the most excellent way to use these gifts; “founded in love”.
It is also really important to remember that our children will make mistakes at home and at school – and it is okay when they do, in fact it is entirely appropriate that they do. As those investing in the development of children it is important that we forgive them and keep them moving toward becoming their best so that they can fulfil God’s purpose.
As a parent I want to get better at guiding my children toward identifying and using their gifts as well as overcoming their mistakes – and I want to do it in a manner that clearly communicates love. As a Deputy Principal, particularly when working with a student who has made a mistake, I desire to restore and bring consequences in the most effective way - founded on love.
The two messages from this passage I believe are:
- Children will make mistakes; and while they are immature that is perfectly fine
- The best, most excellent way to speak and behave is founded in love
This is very important for me to have in my mind both as a parent and as a teacher.