This has been one of those weeks where I’ve had to deal with some of the aspects of teaching that I don’t like very well. Our supervisor is out for the next 12 weeks enjoying a new blessing to her family which leaves us, not only short a person on supervisory portion of the job, but also puts me in charge of many more of the challenges that face teachers. I thought when I retired, I wouldn’t have to do much of this anymore, but apparently – once again – I was wrong. So here I am reminding myself – AGAIN – this is a blessing, this is a blessings, this…is…a…BLESSING.
I’m smiling right now, because yesterday I helped several second graders with a Common Core informational text that talked about the scientific concept of force. Besides not knowing a lot of the words in the text, the conceptional ideas were a little abstract. So we pushed and pulled some little things and then some big things, and the light bulb grew a little brighter. That is what I love about teaching.
“To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17 NASB
It was the rest of the day that was a challenge for me. Most of you who have ever dealt with children know that “when the dogs are away, the cats like to play”. Needless to say, the students are pushing against any boundary just to see if they are still there. Small children have small pushes. Larger children push backs are with a little more force. So far this week I have dealt with nuisances of talking too loud, constant roaming and ignoring simple rules that have been in place for the year. Thus, instead of teaching, I talk to the kids, remind them of rules, line up the consequences and bring it to the attention of parents at end of day. There has also been two small skirmishes. Repetition occurs with a stronger talk to kids – line up consequences – implementation of course of action – apprise the rest of the staff – talk to parents about said skirmish and concerns – fill out paper work. Needless to say, amid all of this has been appearance of inappropriate language.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Ex 20:7
This is a hard one these days. Kids hear cuss words everywhere…parents, society, books, movies, even video games. OMG (O My God)…or for that matter – any of the curses that employ Our Father or Jesus’s name…is so popular that it even comes out of my Grands’ mouths when I’m babysitting. (Needless to say, they do get corrected when I’m there.) In Jewish tradition, God is often written G-d because the word is held with such sacredness. In some sects, they will not even speak it. God’s holiness is that special. When we use anyone’s name in anger or frustration – let alone – God’s name, aren’t we “cursing them”? As I’m writing this, I am trying to imagine substituting a loved one’s name for God’s name in OMG. I can’t imagine even wanting to do that.
I read a book in college about how language is just a mess words that we assign meaning to and that cussing only holds meaning if we allow it to do so. It’s premise was that cussing is fine, and people should get over it. I tried cussing for awhile. Let a few words flit into my conversations here and there. But when I began teaching and watching my students closely, I could see the pain of ugly words and decided to try to turn my words once again. Blessing or curse, it is just a mess of words, but the choice is our – blessings or curse.
According to Jewish wisdom this commandment covers more than “taking His name in vain” (which was the way I learned it long ago). This commandment instructs them to keep ALL oaths as sacred. God makes promises to us and He ALWAYS keeps them. This commandment instructs us to hold our promises with the same devotion as God holds His promises.
Make a promise in court? Keep it!
Make a promise to your spouse? Keep it!
Make a promise to your children? Keep it!
Make a promise to your boss? Friend? Pet? Society? Yourself? KEEP IT!
When we keep our promises as Jehovah-Tsid Kenu keeps His promises, we are bringing His strong kingdom a little closer into existence within our rickety kingdom. Remember the old, old story of dropping a pebble into the water and watching the ripples radiate further and further out? It is the same when we follow this commandment and keep our promise. The consequences continue to ripple out from ourselves – to our families – to our community – to our society. It is exactly what Christ asked us to do when He told us to pray: “…thy kingdom come – thy will be done…” LK 11:2 So…once again….is it really so hard to follow His third commandment?