I have been working/playing as a preschool teacher for two and three year old children for a few weeks at Muse Montessori. Although I feel like I’m exactly where the Lord wants me and it’s been a lot of fun, it has had its challenges as well.
For many of these children, it is the first time they have been away from their mommies for any length of time. We are teaching them to independently choose educational toys in the room, finish the “work,” and then place it back on the shelf before beginning another project. The first week was a little chaotic as they were learning this, but they have quickly learned to keep the room neat now.
Many are still learning to follow directions, exercise self-control, share with others, walk in a line, talk quietly, ask nicely, ask forgiveness as well as accept it, and go to the potty independently. I am amazed at the progress of these children in just three short weeks! Not only are they learning important life skills, they are soaking up reading and math concepts.
The first week I was hearing a lot of, “MINE!” There were also some outburst when the desired object wasn’t obtained. The first days were sprinkled with lots of the typical two year old behaviors of grabbing, pouting, pushing, and talking while I was teaching.
Lest you think I have six little brats on my hands, let me be the first to clear up this misunderstanding! These children are some of the sweetest, most intelligent, loving, well-behaved children I have ever met. I get lots of smiles, hugs, and kisses in the three hours I am with them Monday through Thursday. They kiss each others boo boos and often sweetly ask another child to play with them. Unfortunately though, like the rest of us, they were still born with a sin nature that needs to be tamed in order to please their creator.
There are four boys in my class so I decided to take some of my son’s little toy John Deere tractors, dump trucks, and backhoes (that he hasn’t played with in ten or more years) to class. This one little guy had the hardest time sharing the dump truck. Within minutes of introducing the toys, I heard, “NO! That’s MY dump truck! You can’t have it!” I knelt down and calmly explained, “___Name__, this is not your dump truck. This is Mrs. Gaye’s dump truck. I am sharing with you by letting you play with it. If I didn’t share with you, you wouldn’t be enjoying it right now. Since I am sharing with you, you need to share with ___Name__.”
As the words were leaving my mouth, a few Bible verses came to my mind.
It dawned on me that not only was this little boy needing to learn a lesson, Mrs. Gaye needed to be reminded of what Jesus expects too. And once again I was reminded that I don’t “own” anything. Every thing I have, my family and every other thing I enjoy in this life, is a gift from God that I do not deserve. Therefore, I need to hold these people and things lightly and surrender them to the real owner, God.
This little guy and I had similar conversations several times over the next few days. Then it happened! On about Day 4, with a furrowed brow, he cried out, “Mrs. Gaye! __Name__ has my……. And suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence, flashed me the sweetest smile ever, and said, “…Mrs. Gaye’s dump truck.” Then he turned and walked away to get another toy. I felt like dancing a jig right then and there! I told him how proud I was of him. And he was able to experience the wonderful joy of denying himself and loving his friend. It was an awesome moment.
This is exactly what Jesus calls us to do all throughout every day of our lives. May we experience joy, peace, and wonderful relationships as we obey His commands.