I have a hard time grasping the concept that every word that I speak, and every action I take, impacts another person in some shape or form. The depth of that is too large for my human brain to fully understand, even though I know it to be true.
When I was working in a preschool I was very intentional with everything I did simply because I knew that my students would follow my lead. If I said something repeatedly, I would start to hear that same phrase in tiny, three-year-old voices all around me. If I came in with a bad attitude, the tone quickly rubbed off on the children. If negative behaviors were consistently being ignored or unrecognized, I would soon have 15 kids making the same poor decisions. Yet if I saw beauty in their paintings, so did they. It was easy to see my effects on them, whether they were good or bad.
I had the privilege of planting seeds directly into their open arms, but also had the opportunity to cut out weeds before they hindered any growth. This was a beautiful part of working with tiny humans and their sweet baby souls. Everything I said and did visibly mattered, and in a very apparent way, so I figured that I would consistently see that same fruit in the other aspects of my life as well, but that hasn’t always proven to be true.
The truth is, the rest of life doesn’t follow the same ebbs and flows that a preschool classroom does. Even at Student Impact, a place where we interact with over 150 kids a week, we don’t always see the fruit from the seeds we are trying to plant. I had to transition to scattering seeds rather than planting them.
Although it has been difficult, I have come to love this slow, beautiful process. It takes me out of the driver’s seat and puts me right next to the kids as they embark on their journey of growth. It gently reminds me to stay aware of what I say and do because somewhere along the line, it could influence someone in ways bigger than I could imagine.
We want our students to recognize this, too. We want to remind them that their thoughts, words, and actions matter, but also want them to recognize the fruit other people bear as well.
As adults, we can recognize that this can be very difficult to see, especially in such a time of uncertainty. It has been a huge shift for all of us at Student Impact, too. For myself personally, it has felt almost paralyzing.
When you aren’t in the direct presence of students, it almost always feels like you aren’t doing enough. It seems that no matter how many cards you mail, Zoom calls you have, or presents you drop off, there isn’t any fruit being shared.
Then, as always, I am gently reminded of Jesus and what He tells us in Luke, chapter 8. He was very clear in saying that not every seed will be planted, or even acknowledged, but that never means we stop trying. So go, scatter seeds, and plant them, too. Strengthen roots of trees that have already bloomed. Keep reaching and keep growing. Be like Jesus.