A Time To Teach The Curriculum

The Perfect Parent

I would like to meet the perfect parent. I would truly like to sit down to lunch with them, my treat. I would ask them how they did it…how they duped everyone into believing that there is any such person as the perfect parent. Please forgive my snarky tone, but I am constantly dismayed at the inference from society that the perfect parent is out there somewhere and if you are not striving for it, you are not worthy to be called parent. The pressure is almost unbearable for some and they drive themselves and their children crazy trying to attain that status. We have all seen that parent who seems to have actually gotten there…or at least they would have us believing it. I’m not talking about the parent who loses sleep because they have volunteered for everything at their child’s school, done all the research, attended all the sporting events with the personalized jersey, and carefully chosen a gift for each teacher. No, I am talking about the parent who belittles any other parent who doesn’t work as hard, do as much, or get seen as often as they do.

Grab onto something plastic because this next statement could be quite shocking. (Ahem, a little science humor.) The public school is attempting to become the picture of that perfect parent. What?!?! But Mrs. Cook, you are part of the public school? This is true. However, I am speaking of the worldly part of public school that is not representative of the heart of a teacher…the part driven by politics, bought by the highest bidder for curriculum, and determined to mold your children into a generation of lazy, entitled, God-hating toddlers. Okay, time to take a deep breath before I get carried away. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………………..Lord may my words be your wisdom and truth and nothing more.

So, what exactly do I mean by that statement? Until this year, when so much truth was revealed to me about the corruption in our public schools, I was honestly under the delusion that schools actually expected parents to take their role seriously. The truth is that more and more public schools are hiding their intentions and curriculum from parents. I know because I have tested it and found it to be true. When something is hidden by humans, you should always wonder why. I always tell my students and my own children that if you have to hide it, you are probably doing something bad. Why would you have to hide it if it is honorable and good? The answer is right there if you look a little deeper. Public schools hide things because they know the content is bad and parents would most likely object. The message this sends to parents is clear and effectively defeating…you are not a good enough parent, so we will just do it for you; we will decide what your student should learn, speak, and think and WE will raise them for you. How many parents receive that message and believe it? How many parents are simply giving up? Even one would be too many.

Let me tell you what God thinks about your parenting skills. Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” It doesn’t say, “…but only if your parent is perfect”. God considers parental teachings to be the mark of a truly beautiful adult. But what happens when we allow someone else to take over our God-given authority over our children?

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

I know this is a hard question to answer, but who is training up your child? That’s who your child will default to when they are grown.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Yeah, but she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a single parent or disabled or uneducated…” I imagine there are many types of parents I can’t relate to. But, every parent has this in common…you were chosen by God to be your child’s parent. In God’s infinite wisdom, He chose you to trust with the upbringing of one of his beloved and precious souls. As if that isn’t enough of a reason to stand tall with confidence, God already knew what kind of person you would be when He chose you. You didn’t surprise Him with your mistakes and bad decisions (by the way, we all do those things often).

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV

Just like God carefully crafted you, He carefully chose you to carry one of His great designs. YOU are enough! YOU are God’s perfect choice for a parent! And YOU have the highest authority over your child, not the schools or the government or society…YOU! I have met parents who discounted their abilities because they were doing it alone or because they had experienced some failure. Here is your truth, dear parents. If you strive to do better when mistakes are made, if you give your child your very best, if you put your child’s needs above your own, if you teach them to love God you are a good parent and you are just what God wants for your child. One of the best parents I have ever known (and one of my dearest friends) raised a beautiful, respectful, responsible, compassionate boy despite doing it all by herself. She will be the first to admit she made many mistakes and was not able to do half the things she wanted to do for him. But, she gave her very best and that’s exactly what God wanted from her. By the way, I don’t want to leave out one of my favorite categories of parents, adoptive and foster parents. I believe God chose them too. I have had the pleasure of teaching next to one adoptive mother of two little girls. She is not any more perfect than any other parent, but she is God’s perfect choice as their parent. When she talks to them, you can see the pure love pouring out and the girls know who will be there by their side, guiding them through life.

If you are sitting there right now thinking God made a mistake asking you to be a parent, STOP IT RIGHT NOW! God doesn’t make mistakes. You can do this! Do not give up. God will carry you if you accept His help. It will be difficult, messy, and even painful sometimes, but see it through. Your child is counting on you. Trust me, you don’t want to see who is waiting to steal that role from you. Hang on tight and don’t let go. I will leave you with this statement of Truth:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:3 NKJV

The Stone Pages

How to Make a Rock Cry

“Her children rise up and call her blessed…” Proverbs 31:28

Whether we admit it or not, most mothers dream of this as their new child is getting ready to make an appearance into this crazy world. We imagine the child growing smarter and wiser as we pass on our knowledge and skills to them. We can see them looking at us with awe and adoration and telling everyone how wonderful their life was because of us. When they are grown, we will have had a hand in helping that precious little creation become who they are, and then we look forward to even just a thank you or an emulation of what we taught them.

God created much more than a child. He created everything we see and everything we don’t. He wants our praises and expects others to see the evidence in our daily lives that we belong to our Father. Humankind has followed a roller coaster of praise since we were first created. At times, our praises have been loud and many. Then, we start to forget who is responsible for our joy and our very existence. Our praises dim until God allows us to be reminded once again who created us and is deserving of our constant praise.

But what happens when humans refuse to worship God? What happens when the world actively tries to shut the mouths of God’s people as they praise Him?

“But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40

Stones will cry out! Have you ever heard a rock exclaim anything? I haven’t, but if I ever hear it I will assume that humans have officially gotten as low on the roller coaster as they could possibly go…Silence.

Jesus was saying this to the Pharisees who were asking Jesus to hush his disciples. The disciples were all praising their Lord in surround sound as they brought him into Jerusalem on a colt covered with garments. But Jesus knew the Pharisees would not get the satisfaction they hoped for just by silencing the disciples. God, the Almighty Creator, WILL BE PRAISED! Every tiny speck of creation will praise God…even the rocks.

Humans are God’s greatest creation of all, yet we are the most reluctant to offer praise to our maker. I believe we (at least in this country) are sitting at the bottom of a new hill on the roller coaster, preparing to ascend. Politics, sickness, and Godlessness have plunged us down to such a low point that we are forced to look upward from the bottom. Just like in ages past, our praises will again grow in number as the newly humbled masses begin to see God and the veil is lifted. Christ’s bride is rising up to praise our God because we dare not give the rocks cause to cry.

A Time To Teach

Child of God

Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and TEACHERS, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” Those who are called by God to be teachers have that directive straight from God. However, to become a certified teacher for a public school, you must prove mastery in the subject you will teach. This usually means at least four years of college and some internship time. But no matter how many hours of college you attend, books you read, or times you watch “The Ron Clark Story”, a teacher learns the most from other teachers. We pass the torch through example, and comfort the new ones as they are shaped by their inevitable mishaps and mistakes. I was so blessed to have two aunts in my family, who were teachers, to inspire me, but I was doubly blessed to be placed next to some wise and patient mentors my first 3 years of teaching. They were my inspiration, my sounding board, and my comforters. Thank you, God, for each of them!

Today, I had the honor of learning from a very seasoned teacher. A wise person once told me that if a seasoned person speaks, you should listen with every bone in your body. But it wasn’t hard to listen to this woman. I hung on her every word. I knew I needed to soak up any wisdom she was willing to offer. This woman, affectionately termed “Grandma” by so many, is so full of God that her words come out in song most of the time. The Holy Spirit will do that to you…fill you up so that you are bursting forth a melody that touches everyone.

Her teaching began with some familiar methods that everyone would do well to incorporate into every part of their life; giving value to every idea big or small, encouraging us to use our voices and be brave, pushing us to think beyond what we thought we knew. Then, she did something I didn’t expect. She caused us to look at ourselves through another’s eyes in the form of a simple interview. The second question was monumental…”When did you accept Christ?” Someone was asking me what my story was.

It occurred to me that I have not told you, my dear readers, my story…so here it is:

I was six years old. I know it sounds young, but I was a highly curious child and already asking the harder and deeper questions at that age. My mother was always willing to answer my questions and tried to give me as much information as I could handle. We were driving down the road in our old pickup truck. The windows were down and a nice warm breeze was blowing in. I don’t know how the conversation started, but it somehow led to me wondering how I could make sure I go to heaven someday because it sounded so wonderful. My mother didn’t miss a beat as she explained that I only had to ask Jesus into my heart, to be my Lord, and I would be saved.

“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Romans 10:9 NKJV

By the way, the best answer to any question is one that can be backed by Scripture. Thank you, God, for my mother! Right there on the bench seat of that pickup, in my jean overalls, I bowed my little head and closed my little eyes. I asked God to come into my heart and be my Lord. The moment I whispered those words, a fatherly voice gently and clearly said, “You are a child of God.” Although I was blessed with a wonderful earthly father, this was my heavenly Father speaking the most beautiful words I will ever hear.

Today, I learned that to be a teacher, we must know who we are first. Not our position in our job, our political affiliation, our socioeconomic status, or our level of sports interest…who we are in our soul. Only then, can we be the teacher God expects us to be.