O to be like thee… full of compassion!* As we looked at this hymn in staff devotions and thought of areas in which we wanted to be like Jesus, this phrase stuck out to me. I want to be full of compassion for my students. For the student who is so slow…. full of compassion as I wait for him to pull out his phonics book. For the unorganized student…. full of compassion as I bite my tongue to keep from scolding her again for the mess that is all around her desk. For the student who keeps coughing and coughing…. full of compassion as I gently remind him to get a drink and cough into his elbow. For the student who does not finish her work… full of compassion as I guide her to work completion. For the student who accidentally spills the pencil sharpener or leaves big crumbs on the floor after lunch…. full of compassion as I help clean up and refrain from sighing in annoyance. For the child who just can’t figure out the lesson….. full of compassion as I explain again. For the child who worries about everything…. full of compassion as I listen and console.
How can I develop and grow in compassion? I remind myself that God loves each child – God loves everyone, and I need to see people through His eyes, and love with His love. Each person is valuable. I should pray for my students by name. I will pray for myself to be compassionate. I will make an effort to find positive things in each student and let them know what I see. I can purposefully reach out to the students, talk to them, and take an interest in their lives. I should think about their lives. Maybe there is a new baby at home, or a special needs sibling, and my student isn’t getting as much attention at home just now. I will try to give them extra attention at school. I will empathize with the children. Think of all the kinds of people that Jesus talked with, loved, healed, worked with, and had compassion on! I want to follow His example.
When a student rolls his tongue in his mouth, I think he is feeling nervous and unsure of himself. Maybe I have been pushing him too much, and not showing the compassion that I should. I need to remember to gently remind him what he needs to do and guide him in following directions. I will listen to his stories that don’t fit in with anything and give him importance.
I think Ephesians 4:32 embodies this desire to be “full of compassion.” “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (ESV)
*Song: “O to be Like Thee” by Thomas Chisholm
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt