Blocks of Clay

Listening to podcasts and radio in my car is probably one of my favorite things.  I can laugh hysterically and no one will judge me. There are several that I enjoy thoroughly and Brant Hanson on Air1 in the afternoons is probably one of the funniest and most insightful that I listen to.  Okay, so I know that Christian radio can be super cheesy, but sometimes there are snippets of wisdom that stick out and are so encouraging.

One thing I heard recently was a story of a young woman who had emancipated herself from her parents at a young age because of their drug and criminal problems.  She lived on her own and worked three jobs to put herself through high school.  In one of those jobs she became friends with a girl, whose family later asked her to move in with them for her senior year of high school.  See, this family wanted the young woman to really enjoy her senior year and not have to stress so much about making enough money to pay bills.

Later on, this young woman was able to go to college, get a bachelors and masters degree, find love and raise a family.  Sure, there might have been other factors, but probably one that made a huge difference was this family seeing the potential in this young woman and they wanted to grace for her to help her reach her potential.

See, the reason this made such a huge impact on me was what the radio host said afterwards.

An artist looks at a block of clay and sees the sculpture or sees the painting on a blank canvas.
This family saw the end result in this young woman and made it possible for her to get there. They chiseled away part of the block of clay in order for her to become the piece of art that God intended.

As a teacher, I have to think like an artist

In my classroom full of squirrely middle schoolers, I really have a bunch of blocks of clay.

I have to see past:
their rude and disrespectful comments
their constant taping of pencils
their incessant need to talk ALL the time
….and see what kind of pieces of art they might become.

If I think like an artist, I am able to show them grace in those moments of frustration. I am able to see that a kind word instead of a reprimand would go a lot further.  It will help me say no and set limits for them.  It would mean giving them grace in their immaturity and shrugging off some of those unfiltered thoughts.

This is hard to do, because I sometimes feel like a crappy teacher if they aren’t always compliant and quietly listening to my instructions. I have that fear that my boss will walk in and see the chaos and think I have no classroom management skills. [Sometimes even if students are quiet and compliant doesn’t mean that they are learning.]  And sometimes in the midst of chaos, giving grace and loving them might mean letting them be themselves. 

Also, I guess if I am thinking like an artist, I am to enjoy the process of creating right? So I have to enjoy the process of them getting there.  I can’t measure myself on how perfectly the process is going. [I am sure Picasso, Monet, and Rembrandht made mistakes along the way. ]

This applies to myself too! I have to think about who I want to be in 10 years and how maybe having grace about my life circumstances or my mistakes help me live in freedom.  Perhaps this will untangle things in my heart and help me get on that road to where I want to be or open my heart to what God wants to do with me. 

So I know all of you aren’t teachers, but where in your life should you think like an artist,where do you need to think about the end result and extend grace right now, whether to others or yourself?

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