Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it." ~ H. S. Hulbert

(Photograph by Dayle)

Jerry was an unfriendly child, and a bit of a prankster. Every Sunday, he wandered aimlessly into the classroom where a handful of youngsters gathered.

Plopping into his chair, Jerry would let out a yawn, with as much gusto as possible for a six-year-old to muster. Then appearing bored, he would frame his face in his hands, wrinkle his forehead, and stare blankly at the ceiling

No amount of coaxing from the teacher succeeded in getting Jerry's attention; he appeared perfectly content at being her "thorn in the flesh."

But by the time the Bible story began, Jerry—as if on cue—would mysteriously unwind from his daydreaming posture and become the class clown. This produced a euphoric reaction among his classmates. Giggles from the girls. Cackles from the boys. An atmosphere closely resembling chaos prevailed.

Close to tears, the teacher would try to bring the little group to order, but how could she compete with such antics as snickering, snorting, and belching—which Jerry so often rendered? Finally, at her wit's end, she resigned.

And that's when my mother became Jerry's teacher. She was cautioned aplenty by the former teacher: "You're going to have a lot of trouble with Jerry; he is so stubborn."

Although she keeps it well disguised, my mother is a bit stubborn herself. Time would tell whether or not she could manage Jerry.

With much prudence, Mother did nothing with Jerry for the first few weeks. But she had a plan. Mother always has a plan. Finally the day arrived; it was time to see if Jerry was salvageable.

With their usual clamor, the little tykes rambled into the tiny classroom and noisily took their seats. A brooding Jerry brought up the rear—looking irritated, naturally. After seating himself abruptly, he let out a yawn, followed by a thunderous belch.

Contemplatively, Mother busied herself as the youngsters settled in. Then she stood—activity sheets in hand—and said, "Jerry, would you please pass out the activity sheets for me today?" flashing him a disarming smile.

Jerry could not believe his ears. With a stunned countenance, he took the papers from this strange new teacher, carefully distributed them, then returned to his chair, his demeanor suddenly subdued and reverent.

That was the beginning of a happy ending. Every Sunday, Mother leaned on Jerry more and more. He became her right-hand man, if you will. And he began to blossom. His interest in the class went from zero to totally off the charts. Jerry was a new man.

When asked how she did it, Mother said it appeared that all Jerry needed was to be appreciated, to be needed. Instead of constantly telling him what not to do—don't talk, don't slouch, don't interrupt—she told him something to do.

As simple as this sounds, it holds a ton of truth. No matter how ill-behaved, every child possesses a redeeming quality. Search diligently for it. And when you find it, regardless of how insignificant it may seem, it should be nurtured with the greatest of care.

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me."
(Matthew 25:40, KJV)

This post is part of the weekly series, "Spiritual Sundays," hosted by Charlotte and Ginger.


  1. This is such a great post, especially with vacation bible school and summer vacation going on. Parents, teachers and day care workers are having their patience tested! We must never give up on child. ~Whidbey Woman

  2. Love the story. The picture makes me want to cry. Such innocence. My adorable niece is all grown up now.

  3. A very fine example. So often all these children need are a bit of attention and they will do anything to achieve it. Your mother is a very wise woman.

    Blessings and happy 4th!


  4. Nice post, Dayle, and such a very true message. Even little children need to feel appreciated. Have a great Fourth! Susan

  5. Perfect...the wisdom of your Mom was wonderful...

  6. This is so true. Your mother is a wise woman. I'm sorry to say I could see myself being like the first teacher.

  7. What a wonderful message!

    I came from your sisters blog and am sooo happy to see you in Spiritual Sundays too :)

    Have a blessed and happy 4th of July

  8. this is mom knew how to make a difference....happy 4th of july

  9. Working with young people, I find this to be the truth, over and over. Each of us wants to be needed and appreciated.
    Wise woman, your mom!

  10. Dayle, as a special ed. teacher, I know how very true this is. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  11. This is so true! I think this could go for any of us actually. I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday.

  12. This is a wonderful and heartwarming post. Your mother is so right. She is a master teacher.

    Reading this, I started thinking about some ADULTS that I have in my own church and Sunday school. While they might not be an overt Jerry, they carry themselves aloof. I wonder how many spirits are hurt because they just don't feel needed in the body.

    This has me thinking...

  13. Dayle,
    Thank You for sharing this story...
    I have many "bus" children that come to my Sunday School class.
    Alot of them do not know how to sit still...
    because they never have to anywhere else.
    You have a very wise mother.
    I love each student in my class.
    It is a joy to teach them each week.
    Thanks again for the post.
    Take care,
    Mommy 2
    aka Nancy

  14. What a wise woman. I wish I had read this years ago when I tried to teach Sunday School. I was reduced to tears a time or two.


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle