“Why me?” Or “Yes, me!”
It is a brand-new calendar year – 2022 is here. Hopefully you enjoyed the Christmas break with family and friends. And, since you are an educator, there is also a pretty good chance you spent some time preparing for your return to school. That’s what teachers do – spend time preparing – teachers are a special classification of people.
It has been another unique school year for many. Mask or no mask. Social distance or no social distance. Online learning or in-person learning. The back-and-forth and additional pressures of teaching during this challenging time can take a toll on any educator. Educator burn-out is real, and, unfortunately, the media often shares stories of excellent educators who are “calling it quits.” What can be done to help these educators before it’s too late? Who do they have to support and encourage them in their important work?
Think for a moment about Noah, Moses, Joseph, Mary, or any of the disciples. These people, too, had unique circumstances – challenges – placed right in front of them. What was their response? It is quite possible their response was, “why me?.” We know that Moses was so frustrated with the Israelites when he returned from receiving the Ten Commandments that he threw the stone tablets down, breaking them. We know that Joseph was so nervous about taking Mary as his wife that he considered divorcing her quietly.
It’s easy to fall into a mindset of “why me?” when so many things in life are hard to understand. Is teaching a challenge when you are online? Is it tough to balance the many health-related requirements during the pandemic? How do you balance home and work?
Do not worry – there is good news! You have been called into ministry in your Lutheran school. God needs you, and He will not forget about you. Think about it; God really does give you the tools you need (spiritually, emotionally, professionally, physically, etc.) to meet the pressures that you face each day. Look for the supports – they are there!
Now, think for a moment about those people mentioned previously who likely had a response of, “Yes, me!” Think about Noah when God told him to build the Ark. He gladly embarked on the task, even though many around him questioned his mental capacity. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was excited to learn she would be the mother of God’s Son. And, so many disciples left their work and families and followed Jesus when asked to “be a fisher of men.” Thankfully, so many people in Scripture were those who said, “Yes, me!” Sure, there were challenges, but they were overcome.
As you make your way through the school year, and the calendar year, wake each morning knowing that you are loved, forgiven, and cared for deeply by Christ; He walks alongside you each moment of your day. Rely on Him when there is a need, and share your thanks and praise too, when you find delight in your ministry. Sprinkle “glitter” when you have the chance!
What do you do when you find yourself “stuck in a rut” and begin to think, “why me?” What or who can help bring you out of this mindset and into a “yes, me!” way of thinking?
Who can you help to “stay above the line” when it comes to work, or family-life, or a work-family balance? How can you help a colleague who struggles to understand the significance of his or her ministry? Who is your go-to person when you need a listening ear?
About fifteen years ago there was a popular “tween” movie, “High School Musical”. These teenagers really understood the importance of partnership and helping one another in school and life. The theme song of the movie is We’re all in this together! And, thankfully, it’s true! In Lutheran schools, you always have someone who will partner with you. (If you have a moment, listen to this song and reflect on how it connects to the ministry you do at your school and congregation.)
Remember – We’re all in this together! Always!