Teachable Moments

IMG_0412I had a great opportunity this past Labor Day weekend to take my family on a quick trip up north to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Sacramento.  The wonderful thing about it was that we got to use my Dad’s motorhome.  This was a special treat for my three kiddos.  Their smiles and excitement were priceless as we were pulling away from the house at 4:45 AM!  We were roughly an hour into our trip, when my oldest (6 years old) asks the inevitable, child-sponsored road trip question, “Daddy, are we there yet?”  Of course I answered her as positively as I could by explaining that we had at least 6 more hours of the I-5 North ahead of us.  She didn’t like that answer, yet amazingly enough, I did not hear the question again until we were at Grandma’s doorstep.

This question has been asked countless times, made in to jokes in the parent communities, even allowed us adults to remember when we used to ask that question to our parents.  I even think Hollywood made a movie out of this question.  All this to say, why don’t kids simply understand that we will get there when we get there?  Haven’t they learned from the past?  In the course of human history, hasn’t a child ever looked out the window of their moving vehicle and come to the realization that they have in fact not made it to their final destination?  Of course, I’m kidding.

For some reason I pondered on this question as it relates to education.  We will constantly have students, and for those of us in administration, students and teachers, ask questions that they should know the answer to.  However, it is not in our job description to shrug off the question.  Rather, to shed light and bring understanding to those that seek answers, however simplistic the questions  may be.  I recall being asked in one of my U.S. History classes, “Mr. Stevens, is America the world?” (by the way, that came from a high school student).  Now, I could have gone in a couple different directions in answering this question: 1) Completely humiliate this inquisitive young lady and cause her to develop a complex, or 2) Simply guide her thought process in the proper direction and let her know, “No honey, we are not there yet.  We still have quite a bit of driving ahead of us.”  Being a teacher and/or administrator is to put to use the wisdom, intellect, and above all, patience that our Lord provides to us on a daily basis.  We get the opportunity to steer those young minds in the direction of understanding and clarity.  Don’t you love it when you see the “light” come on?  I live for those moments.  You know you’ve done your job as an educator.

In our walk with Jesus, we can all too often ask the same type of questions to our Savior.  And He can respond in a number of ways that could cause us to feel completely insignificant, but He doesn’t.  He responds with love, compassion, and clarity that allows our simple minds to understand a little more every day of His incomprehensible love for us!  What we need to do, is listen.  What if my daughter asked her question without giving an ear to hear the answer?  I would not have had the opportunity to share with her the ways of the open road.  How many times does God’s Word speak this truth to us?  Are we there yet?  For those who have an ear to hear…


2 thoughts on “Teachable Moments

  1. Jen Wagner says:

    What an excellent post and I love how you are weaving education and Christianity into ONE blog post.

    I also appreciate how you are sharing stories of your life and then equating them with ways to learn.

    I finally am VERY VERY happy that you are blogging.

    Keep up the good work!!


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