Returning to Our First Love as Educators
Returning to Our First Love
November 7, 2018 by Tom Deighan
(A Re-Post from November 10, 2013)
Do you remember why you became a teacher? Do you remember the passion, the energy, the drive? Not even the most unruly students could shift your focus. Not even the most impossible parents could discourage you. And when faced with new legislation, you never skipped a beat.
Unfortunately, many educators have lost the joy in their jobs, lately. And who can blame them? With the pressure-cooker schools have become, we are torn for solutions. Our teachers and staffs are at their wits’ end and there seems to be no relief or common sense in sight. Educators have never felt so marginalized or powerless.
This is a dangerous place to be. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12), but a sick heart can rupture. We face a shortage of teachers. We face unending funding challenges. And we face unrelenting criticism. Educators are simmering and on the verge of exploding. Our hearts are failing.
Even as Christians, we are tempted to put our hope and faith in political solutions or in secular alliances. But, while we have a responsibility to be involved in the legislative process, that is not the answer for our hearts, and this is as much a heart issue as anything. At least in the short term, we can do nothing about our situation, legislatively or financially, but we can change how it impacts us. Schools are not in danger so much as the hearts of its educators.
There is an answer – for us both as Christians and as a School Leaders: Return to Our First Love.
As Christians, we are told in Revelations 2:4 to return to our first love. We know that when we lack peace or when we focus too much on the wind and the waves, we are to re-focus back on what matters: Christ. But it is more than that – verse 5 encourages us to “do the first works.” We must not only focus on Him but also on what he called us to do – and to do it with the passion we used to have.
For most of us, we are called to be educators as much as if we were called to be pastors. At times like this, it is more work than a joy, and we easily lose sight of what is really important. When the pressures of this job get to us, we must return to our first love. We must do the first works. The only other choice is getting bitter.
This is the season we were called for. This is when our communities need us more than ever. While we have no control over our circumstances, we do have control over one thing: how we react to these circumstances. We can choose to return to our first love and to do those first works. Or, we can let the world destroy our callings as educators.
What a pity if this season of change triumphs over us – robbing us of our chance to lift others out of their desperate situations into lives of unimaginable potential. That mission has never changed! We simply need to refocus on it. Some of us may now be serving teachers’ needs instead of students’, but that doesn’t change the need or the calling or the power of the God whom we serve. Your students, your teachers, and your schools need you to be stronger than ever right now. If we as Christian School Leaders cannot triumph in this climate, no one can.
For the next few weeks, let’s focus on returning to our first love as educators, what that means, and how to do it. And since we are called into this vocation, we can have the same assurance that anyone else serving God has. We will always have budget shortfalls, crazy mandates, and teacher shortages. The kids’ needs are no less important than they ever were. This is no time to lose heart, fellow school leaders. It is just time to fall in love again with teaching.
Please share with another educator who may need encouragement. Visit www.tomdeighan.com to sign up for the devotional. Copyright Tom Deighan