The first true signs of fall are here! It’s not the leaves changing color, the weather getting cooler, or the strange obsession with Pumpkin Spice “everything.” It is seeing those big yellow buses on the road. One day there are none, and the next, the roads are covered with them like the pollen last spring. This means schools are back in session, kids are having to get up before the crack of noon, and parents are reminded of what a house can sound like without children in it.
The SALT Student Ministry got a chance to see the teachers on their first day back, when we provided breakfast for them at Marley Middle. Just at that one school you got to see all kinds of educators - young and old, rookies and veterans, those that love mornings and others who are actually normal. As I watched them go through the line, I started to think about something I was taught. In youth ministry, your impact as a leader is pretty small vs. the impact that parents and family can have on a teen. It is a simple matter of number of hours. The same holds true for teachers. Six and half hours a day, minimum, five days a week. They dictate a teen’s life even outside the classroom with the homework and assignments. They invest their knowledge and energy into them every day.
Now add in the fact that they work in 2018, and you find that being a teacher comes with many other aspects then just teaching math or Shakespeare. Now they have train for “Active Shooter” scenarios. They must be willing to put their lives on the line to protect their students. Many of them are exposed to the pain, neglect, and sometimes abuse that the kids and teens bring from their home life to the classroom. They walk around the lunch halls knowing that some kids will get their only meal of the day in that room. All of this and more, while trying to give the students skills to pass state tests, make grades to get into college, and balance a family and personal life that can get swallowed up by the job.
I encourage you to pray for the teachers you know, as well as for teachers in general, because they need it. Pray that God will put teachers in the classrooms that are believers and can be a light in a dark world. Practically, I want to challenge our FAITH family. We have a partnership with Marley Middle that has been building for about 5 years. We invest in them, because we know the role they play, and part of “building healthy families” is to partner with those who are part of our community’s families. At the Connection Center is going to be list of teachers and staff at Marley Middle. The challenge is for you to take a list, put it up in your house, and pray for a person on it daily. One person, every day. When you get to end…start over. Just a few moments of your day can have a radical impact on a place that is just down the street, and so important to the future of our community.