Survival of the Loved
Today I listened to a fellow English teacher share the struggles of being a working mom. It was clear that staying home was not an option for her. Figuring out how to cope with sleepless nights was a necessary evil as her 9-month-old son had experienced some medical problems in his short life. These challenges added to their daily separation due to school being in session again. I listened and commiserated, having experienced similar stress and sleepless nights not that many years ago. My friend is a gifted high school English teacher in desperate need of encouragement and prayer. I have gathered from our conversations that her church attendance is motivated more by guilt than relationship. I have asked my small group to pray for her and her family and we are putting together a survival package for her for the school year. So far, the "first aid" kit includes Tylenol®, a CD with the sounds of a gentle rain, movie rental gift certificates, free babysitting certificates, and a commitment to pray for her throughout the school year.
This back-to-school month, consider adopting a teacher. My friend's story is not unique. Many teachers struggle with being away from home but must work to make ends meet. These teachers may be single parents, be struggling with health issues, or battling depression. Ask your group members if they know a teacher who is in need of a "first aid" kit to help them get through the year. Even teachers who are doing okay could use the encouragement and prayers of people who care. Once your group has selected a teacher, begin brainstorming ideas for items that could fill the package. Try to pick items that are unique to the individual and his or her specific needs. Most important is the message that your group is committed to praying for them throughout the school year.
Be creative in putting the kit together:
- Use an empty plastic first aid box to carry the items.
- Fashion your commitment to pray into a "prescription."
- Include unwrapped Band-aids with positive messages or scripture written on top.
- Wrap gifts in gauze.
Have one of your group members present the "first aid" kit to the teacher. Remember to pray for the teacher every week at your group meeting and let him or her know that they can call anytime with prayer requests. Send occasional cards of encouragement throughout the year. When appropriate, invite the teacher to your small group meeting.
Small group leaders, encourage your group members to:
- Help a single mom buy school supplies for her children.
- Take a teacher to lunch or out for coffee.
- Buy a copy of his or her favorite book and give it to a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member.