by Pastor Gregg DeMey, Timothy Parent & Senior Pastor at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church
As school begins, we rightly focus on the lives of students and all the possibility and potential that this time of year calls forth. We hold up the high calling of teachers and administrators who work hard to shape and serve our young people. We regularly pray for all of them.
This is how it should be!
Occasionally overlooked in the flurry of back-to-school activity is the noble calling of being a parent. If you are a mom or dad, you are truly your kids’ #1 teacher. One of your top jobs in life (after loving God and your spouse) is to love, lead and influence your kids. As a dad with a recently emptied nest, I confess to a mild, queasy feeling that I could have and should have done so much more for my kids. I’m also trying to let go and trust that the parenting under our roof has been “good enough” to be used by God as a graceful, lasting influence on our kids.
Earlier this week, I received a back-to-school email from Timothy Christian School, the alma mater of my children. I quickly scrolled through the email, thinking there wouldn’t be too much of vital interest now that my kids were gone. I was startled when I saw this picture:
This photo is of the first “Picture Ladies” at Timothy, circa 1970. For the last 50 years, the Picture Ladies have been visiting classrooms for short 20-minute stints in order to introduce works of art to elementary school kids. Turns out my Mom is in the back row, second from the left! I had never seen this photo before and had no idea that she had volunteered at Timothy Christian School. My oldest sister only went to TC for a year and a half before my family moved out of Illinois.
I believe this photo was taken in the fall of 1971, in which case my mom already had four young kids and would have been pregnant with me. She somehow thought it would be a good idea to use her extra energy to volunteer by helping with music at church and visual arts at school. She set a pretty high bar for service!
It’s natural to be increasingly grateful for the love and sacrifices of our teachers and parents as we age and understand the contours of adult life. I was taught so many good things by my mom, but I caught even more good things simply by watching her with a child’s eyes. Seeing this picture inspires me to follow her example with more purpose and intentionality.
May God give you the grace to love, lead and influence the kids that God has brought into your life. They need to be taught by you, no doubt; they also need to be caught by your passion to serve and follow Jesus Christ. Let’s give them that great gift!