Lioness in the Sunday School Room

Role play has to be one of my favorite ways of learning and teaching. Perhaps Tina feels the same way.
 
I stay in the Sunday School class with Tina when her mom’s working. Tina’s just three, and hasn’t quite got the “Our teacher’s telling a story so I should listen” idea yet.
 
The teacher and one of her helpers are lions in the parable of The Lost Sheep. Plan A: Roaring, they threaten the little lamb Sunday School children, only to be fended off by the other helper, a shepherd.
 
Tina proposes Plan B. She breaks rank with the other lambs, runs up beside the teacher, gets down on her hands and knees, and roars. I go to bring her back, but the teacher stops me. “I think she wants to be a lion, too,” she says.
 
I love organized chaos! I call for help and Tina rescues me from the clutches of the ravenous helper lion. In a few moments, it’s all over. The defeated lions withdraw and the sheep bask in safety.
 
My thoughts turn to the teacher . . . . Tina clearly wasn’t following the lesson plan, and could have caused some disorganized chaos if the other children had wanted to be lions, too. But the teacher took that chance, and responded to a little girl’s desire to participate in her own way.
 
Our pastor gave us a very interesting slant on “Train up a child in the way he should go
 . . . .” (Proverbs 22:6). He covered the commonly understood interpretation, that we should bring up our children in the faith. But then he said “in the way he should go” referred to the unique gifts and personality of each child. Wise parents treat their children differently, do they not? Not in terms of love or fairness, but in sending one to hockey camp and another to art lessons, spending time in deep spiritual discussions with one, praying for an opportunity to say a few words to another. 
 
I think that’s what this wise teacher was doing, training up Tina in the way that she needed to go.
 
Tina loves Sunday School. I’m reminded of a woman who had the beautiful faith of a little child—when she was a little child. In middle school, a teacher she greatly admired scorned the idea of creationism. “Nobody believes that,” he scoffed. And the girl, now too intelligent for such fables, began to disbelieve the entire Word of God.
 
Fast forward a few years. As a young woman, she met a man who greatly loved her—and believed in creation. He wanted to marry her, but she was too intelligent for him.
 
Fast forward again. This intelligent, attractive, professionally successful and popular woman has a deep problem. No one can help her and she cannot help herself. She confides in me. I am no match for her intellect, but I know One who is much, much more than a match. I read to her from His Word. She listens, faith returns, repentance follows, and today my friend is radiant with the joy that comes with a moment by moment walk with her Savior and King.
 
“Train up a child in the way he should go . . . .” (Proverbs 22:6)

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