Monday, November 2, 2015

Blessing the Future

Many people have been asking: Do you miss teaching?

No, I don't.

That is because I am still teaching through my ministry at Saint Benedict Center. Yes, you have to make the distinction that it is no longer my classroom, but the kids are still kids, and they are great.

It is the standard teacher cliché to say that we are the ones who do the learning, and I do think that it is true, but since arriving at SBC, I have noticed something else happening in the classroom, too.

Mutual relationships have been a topic of reflection for me recently. As I enter into community, I am forming new relationships, and mutuality has to be a part of that. In some ways, mutual relationships are impossible in the classroom for all the obvious reasons: age, authority, etc. But, there is still some mutuality to be found. For instance, there can be mutual respect between a child and the teacher.

There can also be mutual blessing.

When I became a postulant (just over two months ago now!), I received a medal of St. Benedict to wear. Since I have started working at SBC, the children have taken to taking my medal into their hands and playing with it throughout the day. Some like to make sure the clasp is at the nape of my neck; others just like to hold it. I don't know how many little hands have touched it at this point.

One day, as one of the kiddos was holding the medal, I realized that what all these kids are doing is blessing my future. All their presence, all their love, all their joy, and all their spirit get poured into this visible symbol of where I'm headed as a Benedictine monastic.

So, in turn, as I take a child into my hands who is having trouble napping, or take the hand of the kid who is walking up the stairs, or reach out to calm the child who is moving through the classroom a bit too fast, I try to do the same -- and bless their future.

For the children whose parents cannot support them for whatever reason, may they find themselves learning in an educational system that gives them an opportunity to be successful. For the young girls developing their sense of self, may they be valued as equals in our male-driven society. For the energetic kids with lots of youthful passion, may they have teachers who recognize and match their love of learning.

May we bless the bond of mutuality that we share as God's Beloved.

Let us walk in the holy presence.