Getting into Your Business

Posted on Jun 27, 2022 by Mark Muehl - Lutheran Spirit - Quality Education - Christian Living

Lutheran teachers and principals make a difference.

That’s a statement that has been used to encourage the value of Lutheran Schools but more importantly to encourage those incredible folks who commit themselves to teaching the faith. It’s a tremendous responsibility to be a Lutheran teacher and principal. It comes with all the peaks and valleys of any occupation but since we deal with kids, we realize that those peaks and valleys are impacting kids, parents, extended families, church and school communities and more. The responsibility is huge.

This week I was reminded of God’s rich grace in my life as a teacher. A past student of mine posted on social media a remark I made in his yearbook. While I wish I had used a bit more graceful words (purposely not shared here in this post), it seems the comments were life-changing. I wrote, “....I hope that in the future, those special gifts and qualities that have been given to you are used for the true benefit of all mankind.”

The young man was not unlike many boys in middle school - underdeveloped talents, seeking approval in good and bad ways, lots of energy. His post included the following as he and I reconnected, “...You were one of my favorite teachers...I will admit I don’t remember much from your classes, but all my life I remembered this quote. It really resonated with me throughout my life and I never forgot it...I did become an EMT at 18 and a Paramedic at 21 and I’ve been a professional Firefighter for 22 years. I have dedicated my adult life to helping others. I’m sure you did not intend to help shape my life with this simple yearbook quote, but you did. Thank you”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard from past students. I’m always taken back by words, actions, or ongoing concern that impacted the kids and the families. I hear about discipline issues that were addressed. Verbal exchanges in the classroom. Pushing to be better. I remember the kids, BUT I rarely remember the details of the daily interactions.

Teachers teach. Lutheran school teachers get into kid’s business. Family business. Not because of being nosy. Not to police behavior. We get into their business because we care deeply for the kids entrusted to us. It gets time consuming. It can be emotionally draining. It can be exhausting. But it’s necessary, especially as we address the bigger faith and life issues that are part of growing up.

Jesus, our Master Teacher, always got into others’ business. Be it the Samaritan woman at the well (Matthew 4), or speaking candidly to the rich man about eternal life (Matthew 19) or even with his own friends about being a disciple (Luke 10), Jesus didn’t wait for a decision by someone to find him. He confronted them. Even His very life as one of us in this life is proof that he’s in our business. For sure it’s what He wants. His very death is proof that He is all about our business.

It’s quite difficult to navigate the teaching ministry these days and confidently address all that we know is important in the development of kids. I doubt I could say or do half of the things I did 30 years ago in the name of loving kids. I do know that the key piece to teaching is the partnership with home. School and home along with the church need to be supportive of the faith and life development that happen. Growing up in this current anti-Christian world, we are in need of building kids who can be faithful to Christ, even when so much is showing and leading them to something else. Parents need to be bold in faith and in awareness of the challenges to faith and life and be equipped to build strong, faith-filled kids.

The end of the school year is still fresh. But the plans for next school year are well underway. Let’s make it a priority to support one another in this task of teaching. With God’s direction, His love and His support, we all will continue to have long-lasting impact on kids and families.