When students become the teacher.

As a teacher, this next statement is probably going to be a total DUH, but bear with me.

I love to learn. I am a lifelong learner. Few things bring me as much joy as learning does.

If you’re new to this blog or know very little about me, please don’t get too excited that you might possibly have stumbled upon some great intellect that will someday make a discovery that will change and improve life on this planet or publish a piece of work that will influence a generation to work toward social change and generosity.

I appreciate the vote of confidence, but you are barking up the wrong tree, friend. Because the majority of learning I participate in is generally related to social media, shopping, celeb gossip, strange weather patterns, or weird cult activity. I’m very interested in cults – in a non-creepy way, I swear. I understand if you are now wary of ever consuming Kool-Aid in my presence.

I digress. The purpose of this post is not to just inform you that I love learning because that should be an obvious fact about me given my profession, but to marvel in my most recent learning experience.

I spend hours every day educating teenagers about design qualities, sentence structure, current events, life, and more. All of those moments are special and I cherish them all, but my favorite moments are when they teach me something.

Which is often, by the way. I probably wouldn’t know how to do half the things my iPhone is capable of it wasn’t for a student. My style has improved substantially since becoming a teacher through their guidance and harsh criticism. My music palette has been refined and expanded. And I am always up-to-date on what One Direction has going on. Actually, I could go without that last one, but you win some and you lose some.

Recently, a student taught me a lesson that I desperately needed to learn.

After joking that I was “forever alone” and singing my single woes, a student firmly and matter-of-factly told me that marriage wasn’t going to make me happy.

I was pissed.

How dare she say that? Was she implying that I was in some way flawed and unable to find someone who would make me eternally happy? Why was I even discussing this with a teenager? Ugh. DONE.

And that’s when Jesus got ahold of me and said “Listen.”

So I listened. And what I heard changed me.

She told me that she didn’t believe me to be the type of woman who would depend on a man for her happiness. She told me that, in her opinion, marriage is not the thing that would bring me ultimate happiness. She told me that I was too strong to use marriage as a crutch.

And she was right. I evaluated myself that day, and found that the perception I was carrying of myself was of a girl that I had outgrown. I still believed myself to be a girl whose life wouldn’t be complete without a husband or that my ultimate goal in life was to find one.

I’m not that girl anymore. And it took a 17-year-old calling me out on the carpet to realize it.

I’m still digging through this lesson. Every day I think about what this teenager said, and it continues to wreck me.

One of my most favorite verses has always been 1 Timothy 4:12, and as time has gone on and I’ve started seeing myself as a child less and less, I have stopped applying it to my life. Now, it applies all over again because I’m seeing the younger part of my generation step up and take hold of their dreams and passions.

From me to you? Watch out for these kids. They’re going to change the world.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

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