Repetition

I love this quote from G.K. Chesterton, from his book Orthodoxy:

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

We are wrapping up our school year in time to plan for the next one. And as a grown-up, I can face the days ahead with dread or I can face them with excitement. Am I wishing I didn’t have to teach Kindergarten again for the 5th time? Or am I excited to share Kindergarten with my 5th little blessing? Am I dreading teaching our writing program for *gasp* the fourth time? Or am I looking forward to what my energetic, intelligent children will come up with this year?

I can choose to be that grown-up who is bored with learning the same facts again, or I can choose to remember that these facts are new for some of my kids, and for the others, they are still interesting even if they have heard them before. I can find new ways to explain the information, grapple with new questions, and be excited myself for the years ahead. Or I can go through school bored and boring. But if I do that, I am not allowed to complain that my children don’t like school or that they groan about it. I accept that my attitude, my preparation, my outlook all influence my children’s spirits – in regard to school and to life.

And since I don’t want to do anything to dampen their “fierce and free” spirits, I choose to revel in repetition. I choose joy and excitement. For a teacher, there is nothing like the feeling of seeing lightbulb moments in your students. The joy they feel when they learn something new or understand something for the first time or create something unique and beautiful becomes my joy. And my joy in turn inspires them to learn, understand, and create.

So Father, give me new eyes for old information. Give me new excitement for old plans. I want to teach diligently. I want to teach joyfully. I never want to tire of these precious years with young students. Make me young like you, Father. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

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