For the first time in over a decade, I’m back to roaming the halls as a para-professional. A helper to those who need a little extra attention. If a hand goes up, I try to help–if I can get 32 year old cobwebs sucked out of my brain’s dusty corners. Besides these kiddos are much farther down the learning road than I was at their age. With teacher edition textbooks in hand, I try to re-learn to pass the information on in a way they will understand. I highlight, encourage, and try to relieve their frustration.
But I won’t serve up the answers Ala Carte. Nope. That wouldn’t help them understand what is being taught.
One student, a master at scrappling for answers however he can, tries everything to sucker me in. I am in awe of his skills and have no doubt he will figure out life–maybe just not the conventional way. The other day, I was anticipating him trying to slip me a 20 for the study guide key. He’d found himself on an isolated information island. No lifelines, no phone-the-friend-sitting-with-one-chair-between them, no under the table options.
As he tried to exhaust every facet of his charm, I painstakingly explained to him how this and that worked together, and pointed him to tap into his vast storehouse of common sense to land at the solutions.
Finally, in frustration he blurts to a buddy, “Mrs. Long is not cool. She won’t give me the answers.”
I laughed an evil little chuckle, “I have four kids, that for more years than you have been alive, repeatedly tell me that I’m not cool.” Finishing in my best staccato robot voice, “Your powers are useless against me.”
Though highly disappointed, he understood and even grinned a bit.
How many times have I worked harder at sliding around the hard lessons God has put in my life, than simply buckling down and letting him guide me through? And to think He’s even provided me with the Teacher’s manual, sometimes opening it to the exact highlighted passage I needed. Why, oh why do I not learn this?
I can tell you: When we depend on ‘us’, oh my stars, why wouldn’t we give up and try securing solutions wherever we can pluck them from?
But when humbly focused on Him, Psalm 119:92-93 says “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.”
Lord, thank you for your love and patience in dealing with our hard-headed ways–your powers never useless against us.