Teachers need to remember which generation they belong to when they enter the classroom. As a 22-year-old, I began teaching at a junior-senior high school. That calculated to a four-year difference in my age and the age of the seniors. My contract called for a teacher, not a friend; the students had an abundance of peers.
In 1970, when I began teaching at Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, female teachers still wore dresses, though some had begun wearing dressy pant suits. Then one day, walking down the hall, came the very lovely European history teacher wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and bib overalls. With one shoulder strap purposely unhooked, the bib drooped forward, allowing Mickey’s smile to grin at all oncoming teachers and students. Later in the day, she cried in the faculty lounge because her students showed her no respect all day. These were the days of Kent State, LSD, and much open rebellion. “I just wanted to relate to them,” she explained.
As I continued through my 30+-year teaching career, I saw teachers, as well as parents, who sought the role of buddy with the kids. Not a pretty picture! God’s command each generation to share Him and His commands with those who follow them.
Every time I look at this picture of Kelsey’s grasp on Bryan’s finger, my heart swells as I think of the responsibility the Lord has given Bryan and Stacey to parent this little sweetie. Psalm 78 sets this standard for them:
” He [God] decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” (italics mine)
We all have opportunities to teach the next generation, as well as to learn from them, whether formally or informally. When we have the role of the older generation, remembering to be the adult always demonstrates wisdom.