I had a failure last week. It wasn't anything I planned, or could foresee. But, it was a definite failure.
I have been having a tough time with one pre-schooler named Leo. He is 5 years old, very smart, and bigger than the rest of the kids in my class. He regularly answers the questions when asked and not asked. He likes to be first in line, first to finish and first place in general. His work is generally very good. He likes to tattle on any child that is not to his liking of the rules. Lately, he has started to say "no" a lot to me. Teacher Mike, I no like. Teacher Mike, I no want. Teacher Mike, it was not me. Well, after a long day of encounters like that and me touching his head with some papers (he was fine), and him screaming I hurt him, then came the finale. At the end of the day, he runs by me, trips and stubs his foot on my shoe and starts ranting about me hurting him. Teacher Mike, I no like you. Teacher Mike, you are mean teacher. Teacher Mike, I hate you. I hate you!! Wow, I didn't teach him that word. In one split second, I repeated his words back to him, "I hate you, too." I said it calmly, but no points for that. I had become a five year old. He continued to scream as it was time for him to catch the bus. I said calmly, but sternly "Go home". "Tell your mother." I didn't want to hear it. His foot was fine.
I don't tell you all of that to justify myself. I wasn't. I was suppose to be his teacher, protector, and champion. I relinquished that in an instant to gratify a longing to lash out.
At first, it didn't bother me. The child deserved it, I thought. He's a brat. Little did I know, a couple hours later, phone calls, administrators, parents, and grandparents would be in an uproar.
The next day the parents came in to speak to the Administrator. I was suppose to meet her also. She didn't want an apology. She wanted my head. Well, she didn't get my head, but a suspension was deemed the best recourse to satisfy all parties.
At first I was mad and indignant. I was going to pack up and go home. Who needs this aggravation? Slowly, it dawned on me that the main purpose of loving these children and setting an example for their parents was my main goal here in China. It felt like a sucker punch to the gut. I failed.
For a few hours, nothing would solace me. A friend (thanks Amber) shared a verse from Colossians 1:21 - 22
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
Free from accusation, now that is a nice thought. Yes, I deserved censure and discipline. But, in the Spiritual realm, I was blameless in the sight of God. Thank you Jesus for your physical death, and resurrection that transforms me in your Father's sight.
Do you feel like the Psalmist:
40:11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
But, forget verse 13 -
13 Be pleased to save me, LORD;
come quickly, LORD, to help me.
He will, He has, and He will again.
Do you feel terrible for some sort of failure: parenting, job, relationship, addiction, etc?
Do you feel like the lyrics in DCTalk's "What if I stumble?"
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?
Yes, I made myself a fool. But, the love will continue anyway.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
So, get up, walk worthy and finish the race. He has already finished it for you anyway.
I go back Thursday to teaching. Only this time I go with renewed vigor and prayer for Leo, his parents, and for me.