I teach children who speak incredibly limited English and also have incredibly limited educational backgrounds. There’s a lot of reasons that this is hilarious and fun and rewarding and important work, but it is also exhausting work, both for me and for my students.
By the end of most school days, just about everyone has had enough of the charades and repetition that define our days and we’re all tired and ready to go home. Yesterday we hit that point right before it was time to get on the buses (really, the ideal time to reach peak exhaustion). My students came sprinting into my classroom to get their backpacks as I repeated over and over again, “[Student’s Name]! Walk please! No running! [Different Student’s Name]! Stop, please! I need you to walk!”
I finally managed to get everyone’s attention as they froze in position, trying to understand my directions. I started pantomiming as I spoke. “When you come to class, walk, don’t run. You could fall and get hurt. Please come back to the room and try again.”
Y’all. Getting them back to the room was a heroic task. They could not for the life of them figure out what I was asking them to do. And after about 3 minutes solid of struggle, the littlest one just sat down on the ground, too tired to continue to try to understand the foreign language coming out of my mouth.
Amen, little buddy.
Sometimes it’s just too hard and your best option is giving yourself a time out and that’s okay. Being tired is not a sin.
Admitting when something is too hard is not a sin.
Asking for help is straight up Biblical.
You are working hard to understand the will of a God who works in mysterious ways, and sometimes I just can’t figure it out, and I bet you can’t either. And after a long day of struggle with the hard, sitting down and waiting for something bigger than you to pick you up might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Because of course that’s what I did for that little friend. I walked down to where he sat, gestured for him to come with me, walked back to the classroom with him, and walked him to his bus. We did it.
Because I would never leave him sitting on the ground outside to figure out what I wanted for himself when he’d spent the entire day trying to figure it out. It’s not what a good teacher does, or a good parent, or a good caregiver of any kind.
It’s not what a good God does.
If you’re stuck in the throes of what you don’t understand and feel you’ve lost all sight of where you’re supposed to be despite your best efforts, he will not leave you there alone.
So sit down in faith that you won’t be stuck forever and that you cannot move yourself forward on your own.
I’ll wait with you.