Teaching pupils

Kathleen Kjolhaug Religion Columnist
Friday, March 19, 2021
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I was a teacher for years. Because I was, I learned much from my pupils. Today, reflecting into the eyes of yet another pupil before me, I was taught anew.

In my arms I was beholding as I was holding a little one staring deeply into my eyes. He was chomping at the bit while finishing up bottle feeding. While doing so, and without realizing what it was he was doing, he gave back.

We stared as we glared into one another’s eyes. He drank his sustenance prepared according to the formula given. Not a blink offered in between the stares as he nurtured his needs full bore while our pupils met. Like most babes, this happens easily … yet easily missed if unaware of the importance of.

So important it is to see another in the mind’s eye, and it triggered a recollection.

Years back, two pupils met. They were my pupils and I, their teacher. Not only did I see them in a small group setting, but within that small group setting there was no mistaking … they did not like one another.

Day after day I watched as one pounced all over the other. There was definitely a pecking order, and the one hanging onto the lower rung was not doing well with the relationship.

One day, as they sat at the table ready to learn, I decided to veer off topic in order to address the friction between them. “For one minute, you will stare into one another’s eyes and not look away.”

The two five year olds did just that. Their desire to do as told comes naturally when they are your pupils. They did not question it; they just turned to one another and began to stare. At one point during this lesson, I took note that the child who had been at the top of the pecking order began forming tears in their eyes and soon those tears began streaming down the cheek.

The other child looked on, and soon each began to smile as their eyes appeared to dance in sync.

That’s all it took. From then on, they were fast friends … or minimally … at least not enemies. Nary was a negative word ever spoken again between them.

And so it is when bonding with the little ones who’ve been entrusted to us. Look, see, and take note of the little pupils before you. Forming relationships by simply eying one another can build a foundation to last a lifetime.

Numbers 6:25-26 speaks of the message sent to the little one looking on. “The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.” Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)