God’s Dealings with Scorn
Lately I’ve been thinking about scorn.
About the attitude of scorners, and how, all too easily, this attitude comes creeping into me.
Pride and scorn go hand and hand, so I suspect that this problem I see has been around a long time in me, knocking for entrance in my life. However, it wasn’t until I began teaching that I realized how susceptible I am to scorn.
After God directed my life away from accredited teaching and honor in the public schools, after I saw the blessing in God’s way, I became more and more critical of public schools, their methods and the products of the education system. I thanked God for my opened eyes; I thanked Him a thousand times as I saw the shabby education children received. I bitterly opposed the lack of one-on-one time for children, and my main criticism centered on this point. They would learn so much more, I contended, if only teachers took the time, had smaller classes, etc., etc. Little did I realize, I was the one who had so much to learn. God knew my heart. He knew how much I needed a lesson in humility. Thus, when I opened school September the 17th, with every high hope in mind for each student, God began my lessons as well.
I was given a child whom I had sized up earlier as a more intellectual child than most her age, as she had a fairly good attention span when it came to books and a thoughtful mind. She had just missed the public school deadline for kindergarten by about a month, and that was the reason she was placed in our school. Her parents were not sympathetic to private schooling and trusted the public school completely—she had just inconveniently missed the deadline. In retrospect, I think my unconscious thoughts were that I was “going to show them.” I would teach their child so well that they would be “forced” to keep her out of public school unless they were so calloused that they would let her be bored there. On our first conference, I laid out all my grand plans for the coming year for their daughter. They were impressed, but their “I hope it works for her” attitude escaped me. I would remember this in time.
I launched forth with all the zeal that only a beginning teacher can ever possess, ready to conquer the world and more, filled with a fire to educate God’s way and to stay out of the public school system (that old rag) forever. I worked hard; I expected my students to work hard. I built fires constantly to keep them moving. I had one child that was nine, but in the first grade, and I was determined to bring her grade up, and teach her the love of learning. For long months, nothing I did caught fire. I blamed the public school for killing her desire to learn. I blamed them for how behind she was. The neglect she had received was terrible, but I did not realize that to identify an error without humility of mind can create something far worse than the error itself: deadly pride and swollen self-importance.
Back to my new kindergarten student whom I’ll call “Carla.” I taught her Sing, Spell, Read and Write, along with my other students that level, and, although I noted a lack of retention, I felt she was moving just a little slow. Months past, and with each conference, I was not able to report the progress as with other students. I was Carla’s first teacher; there was no institution to blame for her lack of interest in school or her increasing behind status. She was a normal five-year-old who loved to play, but could simply not remember her lessons. It didn’t matter how much one-on-one time I spent with her; nothing helped. I cried; I prayed, “Lord, how? What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t she learning?” By December, I was desperate. All my other kindergarten students were reading; Carla could not recognize her alphabet even though she had completed the Sing, Spell, Read and Write program in this area. If she had been a public school student, I would have blamed the situation on not enough one-on-one time or something to that effect, but she was my student, in a small class, getting more attention than anyone else. My grand plans were crumbling; far from any chance of convincing her parents of the value of one-on-one schooling, now I found myself faced with a conference coming wherein I felt I had nothing I could say to her parents. We had made absolutely no progress from the previous month at all.
Devastated, and humbled, I called to arrange for our next conference. The scorn had drained from me; I found I had no criticism left for others. How good God is! He had brought me to my knees, at the end of my rope, all the air drained from my beautiful dream balloon, and then He began to speak, as I humbled myself. With one day left until the conference, He opened up His book of understanding, and gave me afresh His way of teaching Carla—what she needed, how she needed it. She has some different problems (some signs of dyslexia as did her older siblings), but from that day forward, we’ve made progress. She has now mastered all but four of the alphabet letters (a miracle for her), and she has her foundation math concepts in place, ready to tackle first grade math.
We all know that God is omniscient and has all understanding, but it amazes me over and over how much there is in God’s storehouse of wisdom. A rock I slaved to move for months, flees as the clouds in the sky when God gives understanding how to move. In more stories than I could ever write, I have witnessed this over and over again. There is a key to every child and every situation. Without it, you can struggle forever, and get no success. To possess it, gives the only true success of God’s way. What keeps us from holding this key in our hands? Scorn bars the way many times. Scorn is pride and our way all wrapped up in one package. Scorn blinds our eyes and puffs us up in vain conceit. In short, the seat of the scorner is a very dangerous place. I’ve heard people speak cynically of the wonderful things that others testify that Jesus has done or given to others, saying that God has never helped them. They struggle alone in their problems, no matter how much they beg for help. They hold not the key! They feel miffed that God does not give His understanding to their problems. There is a cost for the key. We must come to the end of our way, we must be humbled, and then God is more than willing to unlock His treasure store.
Are you willing? The blessings are untold….
Humility, thou secret vale,
Unknown to proud in heart;
Thy show’rs of blessings never fail,
And glories ne’er depart.*