My Lesson from Kindergarten

by Mickie Dessiatova

I’ve never been one to memorize Bible verses. Yet, I’ve always admired people who, no matter what the topic, could pull a pertinent Bible verse out of their memory, quoting chapter and verse. I’ve always wondered about their accuracy, too, but have nonetheless been impressed. I learned the big ones when I was a child: John 3:16 and Psalm 23. Those had gotten me by for a good long time when God thought I needed to add to my collection.

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Enter my oldest son’s public-school kindergarten teacher. She would merely write Phil. 4:13 under her signature on notes home from school. I thought there was probably someone at the school who would say something about this, since I heard they’d kicked God out long ago. But no one ever did, and finally one night I looked it up.

It was true that Christ gave her immeasurable strength to face 25 kindergartners every day from August through May. I cannot imagine that I would be so strong in this situation. She played the piano, taught them countless songs, read them her favorite books, impressed upon them their numbers and colors, kept the peace, wiped noses, battled parents, and put up with this crazy mother. She must have truly had Jesus on her side to make it through the year.

And yet, this was her 17th year of teaching. What makes someone want to walk into a class-room every day and cover the very, very basics of academia over and over again? It is hard to extrapolate on a subject when your audience is more interested in bodily functions than their daily coursework. It is nearly impossible to cover the ABCs and 123s when half the class has the giggles just because. And it is insurmountable to imagine that these children will, through their three months of summer break, retain even a fraction of the wisdom she so diligently impressed upon them daily. Yet, she pressed on.

Sure enough, not one child flunked kindergarten that year. Everyone moved to the next level. And she cried. Her work was done, if only for a brief time before starting over on a new set of rambunctious 5-year-olds with crazy parents.

And so, in my doldrums of everyday life, I try to remember the enthusiasm one person held for each one of her wards and her faith that Jesus was right behind her every step of the way. I may not play the piano, sing songs, or even keep the peace very well, but through Jesus I have immeasurable strength just like the teacher in charge of a class of 25 each day. It is hard to see my two boys as devout church-goers when sometimes it seems they’re only in it for the donuts. It may be nearly impossible to think that my wily boys who play ball in the church gym when they shouldn’t will someday be godly men. And it is insurmountable to think that the Sunday School lessons that I so diligently try to impress upon them will carry them through the hard times in their lives. And yet I press on, knowing by rote God’s support of my endeavors through this one short verse. Thanks be to God for giving me unfailing strength no matter what the task at hand, and thanks to one kindergarten teacher for giving me the verse that reminds me.

About the Author: Mickie Dessiatova is a member of Faith Lutheran Church, Owasso, Okla.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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