Watering Seeds

“You know, on school days you have the children more hours of the day than their parents do,” commented a grandma to me on Grandparent’s Day. I have thought about that, and it makes me feel very accountable. Another grandparent looked a little teary as he thanked me for all I do for his grandson (who is adopted and has some challenges).

I think of the great responsibility we have as teachers and school staff in working with our students and communicating Jesus to them. I was struck with these comments from Gerald Wolfe: Parents plant the seeds; the church waters the seeds—and looks for those whose parents are not planting the seeds.

I would say the Christian school also waters the seeds, and as we partner with parents and churches, we may be planting seeds, too.

Planting seeds…

  • …for the child whose family is busy with their bike races on Sunday. Kyle told me his family can’t always go to church because they have to go to the races. This concerns me and makes me feel accountable to be planting seeds with him.
  • …for the child whose parents don’t take her to church at all.
  • …for the child whose parents are new believers and haven’t built that foundation yet.
  • …for the children whose parents aren’t teaching them at home.

How can we plant and water seeds? This may happen in Bible class as we teach Bible stories and concepts and the lessons in them. We guide our students to studying the Bible on their own. We can give them scriptures to study and verses to hide in their hearts. We help to disciple students. Direct instruction in the Bible and Bible teaching can be sowing those seeds and watering them. We make application of biblical principles.

Teaching peace and nonresistance, love and forgiveness present areas where we can water seeds (or it may be planting those seeds). As an illustration, I think of the phonics lesson we had on the silent letter ‘d’ in ‘dge.’ The curriculum had a picture of children saying the ‘pledge’ to the flag. None of my first graders knew what that picture was, and I was glad they didn’t. This was a good teaching opportunity and a time to plant and water seeds. I told them what the picture was and said that while we are thankful for our country, we do not want to pledge to it. We only want to pledge to God. When I was grading the pages, I saw that one of the children had added some words to the picture—after the word ‘pledge’ he wrote “to God.” Another child wrote very boldly under the picture—“bad!” For these two children, the seeds that their parents had planted were being watered at school.

Bible memory is an area that can plant and water those seeds. In our school, grades 1–12 do the same passages and families are encouraged to practice at home. All of their children can practice together. I love this, as I hear of families practicing the verses at the supper table, in the car, or before school starts. If they are not a family who regularly attends church, even the parents can be learning the Bible passages this way.

We also plant and water seeds in our daily lives with our classes, as we model Christ and Christian living. We may plant and water seeds in our speech and as we encourage students.

One of our staff members (whom I’ll call Mary) shared some of her story in staff devotions. Mary attended our school as a child, and she received her Bible teaching and her beginning Christian foundations at school. She did not get this at home—there was no modeling or good examples at home. She related a story of a kindergarten experience when she was amazed at the story of Moses and the burning and exclaimed her wonder with very inappropriate words. She did not have the seeds planted at home and had no idea she was taking the Lord’s name in vain. She was crushed at the shocked look on her teacher’s face. The teacher later pulled her aside and gently explained to her about the language. This teacher was planting seeds! Mary went to our school through eighth grade and after that she did not have the Bible teaching, modeling, or examples again. Those early seeds that were planted and watered at EMS did grow, and Mary is now a believer and employed by our school!

I believe this is a charge to us: plant and water seeds, expecting growth. Pray for the growth and harvest, as you invest in your students. It is a joy to see students grow up and continue in the faith and do their own planting and watering.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


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