By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
A silver glint of a boat cleat caught my eye as I toured my classroom for the day. “What’s that?” I asked, still a green substitute teacher. We live in a lake town, so boat cleats aren’t a rare commodity, but this one was bolted to each side of the classroom door. At the sound of my question, the other teachers on the Kindergarten team looked at each other with teary-eyed, terrified gazes. “In case of a lock-down,” she began to explain, and then choked up and walked away. Over a decade later, teachers are still terrified at the thought it could be their school splashed onto the news scene of the latest school shooting …their colleagues fallen …their students shoved into another senseless act of violence.
The first day I sent my first child off to preschool, I was a trembling mess of terrified tears. Then, the Sandy Hook tragedy happened when my oldest was four. I remember praying from the time I dropped her off to when I picked her up. I remember the tears I shed for parents I would never meet, and teachers whose paths I would never cross …students I never knew. Then, it happened again …and again …and here we are …again. Heartbroken and in disbelief, we mourn with those whose community has been shaken by evil.
The empathy we all feel for each other in the light of these tragic losses reminds us we’re not alone in this mess of a world. There is something we can do. There are ways we can help, support and encourage each other. Motivated by and rooted in the love of Christ, Scripture reminds us anything is possible. So whatever He puts on our hearts to do for each other is worth the effort, whether we see the fruit here, or in heaven. Here are a few simple things we, as parents, can do for our children’s teachers.
1. Pray for Them
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NLT
Most of us instinctively pray for our children every day, on our own and with them before they part from us for another school day. But there’s quite possibly nothing more impactful we can do than lifting our children’s teachers up in prayer. Many of them have children of their own they send off to school each day, families waiting for them to return at the end of the school day, as well. Let’s pause and pray, right now, for our children’s teachers. God hears our prayers, and though we may not always get the answers we want when we want them …He is the God of miracles. And it never hurts to ask Him for one.
We know You are in control. We know You are sovereign. We know you are good. But things happening in this world shake us to the core of our faith. We want to know why innocent lives are stolen from their daily classrooms. We want to know how to stop it from happening again. The control we seek lies solely in Your hands. And so, we come to You, on our knees, and beg You to protect our children’s teachers. Please protect their schools from intruders, today, God, and every day. Please give them peace and calm which comes only from Your supernatural ability to calm us in the midst of calamity. Protect them physically, mentally, and spiritually, Father. Shield them, and remind them You are their Protector, Defender, and constant Hope. In miraculous ways, take care to protect our children, their teachers, and the entire staff at their schools, Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
2. Know Who They Are
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NLT
Everyone needs to be known in this life. Parenting is busy. Many of us juggle multiple children and full-time jobs. Our expectations are high and our tolerance is low. When the busyness of our schedule is interrupted by a problem at school, we are unfortunately inclined to align on the opposite side of our children’s teachers. Relationships with any of the people God has placed in our lives are reciprocal. We can’t withdraw from an account that has not had any deposits made to it.
The simplest way to get to know our children’s teachers is to show up at the first parent-teacher conference. Meeting face-to-face in our tech-driven world helps put a personality to the title of teacher, and a tone to the email communication we may make with them in the future. Technology isn’t the best way to get to know someone, but when our busy schedules don’t allow us to physically show up, a nice email to reach out and introduce ourselves is better than nothing. Letting a teacher know we care enough to introduce ourselves goes a long way. Offering to lend a helping hand in younger students’ classrooms, if not by physically showing up then maybe by donating supplies for a specific project …helps teachers to feel cared for.
When a grade is entered wrong, or we question their teaching philosophies, we as parents can approach teachers with patience and grace, instead of in an accusatory matter. When tragedies happen, like the latest school shooting, reaching out to a teacher to let them know we are praying for them is a powerful act of kindness.
3. Show Them Appreciation
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength." “ Proverbs 17:22 NLT
There is a Teacher Appreciation week each year. Look it up and put it on the calendar. When my daughters were little, I would send them with flowers and notes for their teachers. I’m not sure what my excuse is for getting lazy with recognizing teachers on this day as my kids have gotten older, but I sure have. The specific day we recognize them isn’t as important as the gesture of our appreciation. It could be as complicated as delivering a teacher’s favorite lunch or coffee order, or as simple as a note of appreciation. The Lord doesn’t care about the way we show our appreciation, just that we do so generously and with a glad heart in the way He leads us to do it.
Terror strikes the entire teaching community when a school shooting happens. Teachers need to know they have a supportive group of parents who know who they are and care about them as people. If the only time we reach out to let them know we are praying for them and appreciating them is when a tragedy happens, that’s ok too! Just don’t stay silent. Some of us have multiple children and each has multiple teachers. Pray about who may need an extra note of encouragement, and follow God’s lead. It may not be possible to reach every teacher our child has, but it is possible to reach some of them …and surely, just one.
School shootings keep happening. No matter how much we all debate over the issues at hand, none of us can promise it will ever happen again. No one has the power to prevent every horrid and senseless act. But we can be there for each other. We can pray for each other, knowing it’s absolutely the most powerful weapon we can wage. Reaching out, showing up, and appreciating teachers encourages them. We are all scared. Parents, teachers, staff, and students. The Bible has a lot to say about fear, and why we don’t need to be afraid. God often uses us as the main catalyst in reminding each other we are not in this alone. He has placed a support system around every parent, teacher, staff member, and student. Let’s make sure we’re actively participating. Loving each other through this life makes a huge difference.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/skynesher
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.com. She is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.