Every couple of weeks I assessed the reading abilities of my Kindergarteners. I called individuals to my desk and had each one read a set of five words with various special sounds we have been learning. Towards the end of the year, I called a student to my desk and as he came near he shook his head and half-whispered, “I just really don’t want to do this.”
I looked at him, frowning to hide my amusement, and asked, “Hmm, is that a good attitude?”
His eyes widened and he responded right away, “No—that was the Old Me. The New Me doesn’t complain.” And he went on to read all five words.
I was astonished at his response. Sure, our memory verse for the week had been 2 Corinthians 5:17. And sure, I had been teaching them about the Old Self and the New Self, and about how Christians can only live the New Self through Jesus. But I had not believed they were actually picking up on it. It’s amazing what happens, what the kids pick up on, when they listen. And, sometimes more amazing, they listen a lot more often than I realize. And things were catching on.
The question is, what else is rubbing off on them?
They notice more than what I intentionally tell them, and that rubs off too. Things like attitude, character, and a relationship with God are learned through watching. And goodness, were those kids watching!
The good news is that they don’t have to watch the Old Nicole. That would be a disaster— a terrible disaster. The good news is that someone else has been rubbing off on me, though not nearly as quickly as I would like, of course. When I spend time listening to God, He rubs off on me-- just like I rubbed off on the Kindergarteners. His self-control rubs off on me, and gentleness, as well as his faithfulness, goodness, kindness, patience, peace, joy and love. But it all starts with intentionally spending time with God, listening to Him, and allowing Him to point out things that need to change.
Actually, letting God point out those things is the easy part (especially once it’s over). The part that is the hardest and most painful is living it. The whole point of the Old Self and the New Self is that I can’t do it on my own, I need to continually die to myself and chose to act and react as God leads. I fail at it quite a lot, and that is painful; but it also helps me relate to my students with more grace, love, and encouragement, which, in turn, rubs off on them.