It’s no secret that my attempts to teach in Georgia schools have been both a blessing and a curse. I quickly found out that the good ol boy system is active throughout the southern educational system, and much like the risk I took in losing my business because I failed to drink the juice, it has been worth standing alone. Because I am expendable in the eyes of administration as a substitute they assume I don’t know what I’m doing, the board dismissed my reciprocity from another state, and nobody asks me who I am when I’m in a school building. I could go into my past mindset of feeling rejected and unimportant, but Daddy doesn’t let me. I feel in the depth of my soul that He is setting me up for a breakthrough that will change the course of the direction for my life.
Two years ago I dreamt that I would enter schools with my spiritual eyes for the sake of the child, and will be moved from school to school for purposes greater than my own. It was a vivid dream and I have had numerous confirmations ever since. I have gone undercover into many schools linked with government initiatives to clean up the poverty struck “hoods”, yet my voice is never heard by them. In essence, the very schools I am to serve, have rejected my credentials to come on board as an employee, but it allows me to be placed exactly where Daddy calls me. What I did not understand after having this dream, was that my heart would be transformed through loving children that remind myself of me. This would come through accepting that I will earn income through many different sources for the sake of remaining a nameless and faceless employee of Heaven.
Much like when I was a child, people in organizational and ministry circles don’t know what to do with me. This has created a level of confusion about my purpose for decades, but one that affirms my call by God. I fundamentally ask a lot of questions and seek help for answers if I need them. Throughout my life, many have attempted to shut me up and I received it as rejection, much like the times when groups would subtly push me out. I remember listening to women like Beth Moore and Heidi Baker and weeping because I felt the same pull on my heart as they did to free captives. I mentioned at a prayer meeting that I knew I could combine the passions of those two women into one ministry and change this world. A man in leadership replied, “that’s a tall request for someone like you”, and he made sure the whole group heard him. Maybe I didn’t know what I was seeking at the time, but that man wasn’t just mocking me, he was mocking the God which lives inside of me. That could have been the personal fuel I needed to set out for reforming people’s beliefs, because it left me questioning the power of Christians and if ministry became most’s proof of godliness. If so, I would have to take a different approach.
And here I find myself up against the religious spirit posing as a business initiative that pimps out people for profit by labeling it education. Conglomerates have marketed the help of wealthy enterprises and business affiliates to place educators in position according to funding, with full knowledge that proposed programs cannot heal a problem founded on neglect. Neglect is the silent voice of abuse that gives precedent to all other forms, and it is taught, passed down and growing in any circumstance where an adult is still walking in childhood pain but expecting something or someone else to fix it; be it money, agenda, programs, people, status or a hand out.
I have no interest in catering to adults who politically acquire money at the risk of children obtaining equal opportunity. When the bottom line comes down to putting up with problems just to punch a time clock as the system cashes in, the little ones feel the apathy that surrounds them, and become impotent to their own breakthrough. That is the struggle I have always had with adults who don’t even see the children before them as impressionable. I consider it an honor to emotionally connect with a smaller version of ourselves so they avoid the pitfalls we fell in at their age. When grown ups lose sight of how much they can learn through a child’s viewpoint, they dismiss the teaching of God and the healing of their own childhoods.
I’m not saying I have always thought this way, I’m just trying to appropriate my role as a loving adult to a people group I once thought added aggravation and turmoil. I don’t believe children are the reason for added stress in an adults life because, I have sought healing for the beliefs I had about stressful moments. I can see a need for the parent to nurture himself when he quickly blames a child for his aggravation because I have functioned as a reactionary role model myself. It has taken choice after choice to lay down my accusation of a child being my problem; my real problem is the continued suffering I feel from a past that causes me to react like my inner child. If we each carry childhood wounds, we react out of them even as adults and this greatly affects the way we see and treat children.
As I consistently question my aggravation level while at school, I realize adults are having temper tantrums because their needs aren’t being met, which causes the spiritual atmosphere to amplify stress that children will naturally react too, because they have no filter except their emotions to explain what is happening around them. That’s why everything is birthed out of a spiritual premise. We cannot disregard that Jesus called the little children to Himself and that He longs for us to remain childlike. That being said, if adults lack the ability to heal and nurture themselves, Daddy will move them out-of-the-way and replace them with people who have; I believe His church is intended to be such a people. To be childlike is a struggle for most believers but Holy Spirit encourages us to look foolish in the eyes of man, especially those who fight like children to be heard, seen and understood.
My ability to trust who Daddy made me to be was contingent upon approval of others for so long. With surmounting perceived failures and moments where I was judged like a child in adult skin, I commonly questioned my ability to hear God’s voice and if He could trust me. It took the rejection of my peers in a foreign state to see just how powerful life can be when you follow Daddy alone. My assignments to intervene for children without voices were growing. I had given up all together on integrating with other teachers because I never knew how long I would stay in the same environment. Freedom was revealing itself and I felt like I was three feet off the ground when I came into contact with kids. I would have visions of an orphanage and running a boarding school. I heard myself re-tell the accounts of having unwanted children live with me over the years. I remembered the hardships of being asked to go on Sabbatical from a church because the youth had witnessed miracles that leadership thought I fabricated, and I laughed to myself at the thought of it preparing me for delivering children from adult faithlessness.
I am in my breakthrough.
The latest assignment will forever impact how I do life. Instead of a substitute I was assigned to a special education professional position, which was the lowest daily pay grade. I didn’t want to take it but the temp agency I work for offered incentives for same day assignments. This school was on the Island, a five-minute walk from my home and had a reputation for high academics. From the minute I parked my car I had chill bumps. Daddy spoke to me heart, “don’t expect the worst, you are here for the children”. For the first time in 9 months, teachers made eye contact when asking who I was, introduced themselves and shared personal stories about themselves all before the first bell!
After recess I was introduced to my second set of students for the day when I heard a little man trapped inside of a boy’s body, call out to me. He wanted another child to stop picking on him and petitioned my help. I knelt to look into his big blueberry colored eyes that were red lined from crying and I almost broke down immediately. I knew it was Daddy revealing this child’s pain and I grasped my heart for restraint of reaction. This child had been so severely sexually abused it was coming out of him sideways. In calm, I said, “I see you and I hear you. There is nobody else I’m concerned with now besides you. What is really going on?” He let out a rant of adult expression that is best quoted as “Fed up with critics, liars and people who are full of shit”. Here’s where my aha moment came in; I get his reactive emotion because I have been there my whole life. I said, “Amen, I couldn’t agree with you more. I started laughing and asked him if he knew how amazing he was?” He started crying and said, “I hate my life”. I knew what that meant, exactly what it meant. Why does he have to carry all the effects of sexual abuse around with him?
That was it, he was worth it all, worth a pay-cut, worth teaching from a lesson plan, he was worth my time and love and acceptance to validate him. I remembered being taught 20 years ago how to avoid bad behavior with autistic children when I first entered the profession. I had reused the concepts I learned back then when autism wasn’t yet an epidemic, for all of my following years. I wanted to take his pain somehow but knew establishing trust was mandatory. I let him be himself and come to me if he needed it, and I added some humor by nick naming him D-man. I learned that the vacancy could be open the following day so I requested the para-professionals number and called her directly for the job again. She accepted and before I left the building, many students asked if I could stay for the year. For the first time all year, I heard myself saying, “I’d like that very much”.
Daddy was clearly drawing the line in the sand on how to best reach kids that I come into contact with. Since I know the negative outlook on life and physical pain in a child greatly stem from emotional unrest, I had to teach from an emotional perspective. If attachment to others and acceptance are paramount to humans, how was I going to restore that connection in the hearts of children who feel different because of a learning impairment, disability or traumatic background? I can gather that adults may get frustrated with them at times, but my role was to remain patient, just like I had hoped someone did with me when I was their age.
The original thought of launching an Emotional Teaching Perspective was planted by another teacher’s suggestion because our schools are inundated with special needs cases. This is the same as up North, but my sense of self and promoting spiritual education has solidified all these years later in the South and as my heart has enlarged for unwanted cases. After spending days in this Island school with D-man and other special needs students, I observed many behaviors that are directly connected with diagnosis and prescribed medicine that further inhibit children from functioning on a normal cognitive level. These symptoms and manifestations each contribute to a larger problem which I prophesied would occur some 17 years ago when I first doing autistic therapy. I was disheartened to see my projection of an epidemic had actually occurred and now I’m back tackling a solution to a problem that has accelerated.
One teacher asked me, “what did that little boy see on you? His mouth dropped and he looked like a deer in headlights when he saw you. Why are you able to connect with him?” I was shocked that anything had happened supernaturally between D-man and myself because I was hoping against hope that my gentleness would even get past his judgment. I guess it had. In response to this teacher I shared everything I believed Daddy revealed to me concerning this young boy’s emotional state. Another teacher joined us and shared the issues at hand for D-man and confirmed the onset of abuse at age 3, like I suggested. Both asked me how I knew such detailed circumstances of what this child has lived through and I stated, “I lived it myself”.
For the first time in my life, Daddy confirmed that my suffering would be redeemed and from it, a chance for other children to be delivered from a traumatic past. How could it be that He was using my childhood as a gift of understanding emotional disturbance? I was so emotional when I was a little girl, made the scapegoat for disrupting parents and teachers, and terrified of them at the same time. I dropped hints and gave clues about the sadness I carried around in my heart. I didn’t even know why I hated my body or wanted to die back then, but now I do. I cried tears to petition help from adults but they never came. It amazes me that my search for significance has paid off in adulthood and that my inner child dances with acceptance over my past. My suffering can be a solution to a very real problem.
The interest in helping D-man was growing inside of me as I listened to the team of teachers question methods of intervention for him. I learned that he had no counseling on a routine basis and that his chart contradicted stable behavior when compared to classroom disruptions. From my perspective it seemed as if he had no foundation to build progress on an emotional level, nor did he have routine interaction with an adult who understands his background. When I heard the team ask for my help, the logical response I could give was, “I’ll volunteer with him once a week in hopes of him alleviating aggression and finding some healing practises that he can use in the classroom”. They not only accepted, they were appreciative and wanted to know how they could best help me. I was laughing so hard on the inside at the way Daddy just had this opportunity fall into my lap, that I just said, “I’m here to help you because this effort is worth it”.
I couldn’t believe that I went from “picking up any job for extra money”, to volunteering for a job that will challenge me and cause me to further look within myself. Yet, I was so excited. I prayed for the situation everyday with expectancy for 5 days until my return. My spirit was alive. I saw each of the children as potential hurting adults, repeating cycles of pain if they did not receive love and concern during these primitive years. I had spiritual eyes on that afforded me depth of understanding, yet I did not have to say a thing about Jesus. My countenance went before me and it was received. I could tell which adults were threatened by longing to be there, wondering what incentive it was for me, but my compassion toward them started to grow. Some teachers opened up about their own children and battles they faced which justified my presence there even further; I was able to pray for the emotional atmosphere of any room I was in, seeing the adults and children alike as the kids Daddy intended them to be. The most beautiful thing about it, was that I was falling in love with the kid inside of me too.