Kid’s behavior can be so chaotic sometimes. As an elementary school teacher, random outbursts of flailing arms, haphazard body movements and silly noises are actions that I witness on a daily basis. Most of the time they are typical childlike behaviors. Sometimes they just need to shake their sillies out!
Don’t you feel like this sometimes? Don’t you wish you could just shake the stress, worry and craziness of your life right off your shoulders?! I know I do. I wish I could just jump up and down and wiggle off all of my daily struggles. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. It is not socially acceptable to stand at the gas station, waiting for your gas to pump, jumping and twisting around. People would stare at you. You might be judged. Children and adults struggle daily with things that others might not find to be ‘socially acceptable.’ The question is, how do we, as onlookers of a situation, deal with what we are seeing?
Let me tell you a story about a few of my little kindergarten friends. One day a little boy was having a lot of difficulty controlling his words and his body. He was using hurtful words when talking to his classmates, throwing things and simply being inappropriate. This little munchkin ended up spending the rest of the day in the office with the principal.
The class and I talked about how we could help this little boy to be a better friend and encourage him with positive behaviors. We brainstormed and chatted as a class. Of course the little love bugs had the most innocent and creative responses as to what we should do to help our friend. They were all saying sweet and kind things about how they could help. The conversation did not really hit me, though, until a little girl said, “Miss Brown, I’m going to pray for him.” By the end of the class a few other little ones came up and told me that they too were going to pray that this little boy learns how to be a better friend. They said they would pray that they can help him with that as well.
How often do you see someone at the mall criticizing the cashier that rang up the wrong price of a shirt, completely causing a scene? How many times have you seen a parent yelling at a child in the grocery store or worse, cursing at someone on the phone?
What is your first instinct when you see something like this happen? Do you think to yourself, “Let me pray for them right now, God can help them.” Or is your first response, “What a mess!” Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that my judgmental side sneaks out sometimes. But I will also say that after hearing those little five year olds tell me that they thought the best way they could help their friend was to pray, it sure opened my eyes! It’s not that I have never said a quick prayer for someone I saw struggling. It was just something that I needed to be reminded of.
How often do we turn to prayer, on the spot, for something or someone’s questionable behavior? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to ‘encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ Is there any better way to encourage and build someone else up but to pray for them?
We don’t know if those little kids actually did go home and pray for their kindergarten buddy. Whether they did or not they still opened my eyes, and hopefully yours, to the power of a simple prayer for someone in need. I thank God every day for children and the sweet little reminders and eye opening experiences they bless me with. Children are a gift from God. They are more than just cute and sweet. Their innocence provides us with so many simple reminders of how to get back to the basics in life.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” –Jesus. (Matthew 18:3)
Brittany is a recent college graduate and elementary school substitute teacher praying for her own classroom! She loves watching God’s messages pour out through little kids and listening to their pure perspectives on life.