“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
—Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Many years ago, we had a new boy join our group of preschoolers.
Coming from an unchurched family, little David had no idea how to behave and interact with others in our room. Besides being unused to getting along with others, David was unable to communicate. Or rather, we were unable to communicate with him. For you see, David was deaf.
This presented various challenges. As a young child, David did not read lips. Other preschoolers did not know how to talk with him, share with him, or figure out how to get beyond physically grabbing and fighting over toys and materials. Explaining activity choices, classroom rules and expectations, and group time did not easily happen. If at all.
But then we realized that we received a gift when David’s parents brought him to church. God loved this little boy and his family. Despite our challenges and lack of specific skills, God wanted us to love and teach David.
We purchased and borrowed books about American Sign Language (ASL) and started learning simple signs to speak with David. We taught the other preschoolers the same signs. We offered easier-to-understand activity choices. We encouraged preschoolers to show kindness and compassion to David and each other. We put ourselves in David’s place, asked his parents for strategies, and allowed God to lead and help us love this sweet boy. We clothed ourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience.
Sometimes teaching Mission Friends is not easy. Challenges happen. Preschoolers get sick, have new siblings, or move from distant locations. Sometimes parents separate, a grandparent passes away, or a child with special needs shows up at the classroom door.
What can we do when we face unsteady ground in our classroom? We can respond with love, patience, and kindness. We can research, rethink our plans, and ask for help. We can pray and ask God to fill us with compassion and show us the way to love each child and teach them the best way we can. We can be thankful for God’s gift of Jesus and every child that walks through the door. He has a plan for every life, and we are a part of each child’s faith journey. We can wear compassion.
Lord, Thank You for each leader and child in our Mission Friends classroom. Help us don the clothing of kindness and compassion so we might shower those in our care with Your hope and love. Guide us as we share about Your Son, Jesus. In Your name, amen.
Angie Quantrell is editor of preschool resources at WMU.