Today one of my Sunday school students could not believe me when I told him that I was the oldest of 8 kids. He asked me if we all had the same mother, and then if we had the same dad. I finally said: yes, Ray! My mom had 8 kids with the same man and I happen to be the oldest. It was pretty funny.
Being the oldest wasn't always easy, especially while trying to help my mom raise a bunch of crazy little ones. I never realized how much useful experience I got from helping my mom with all my siblings, until I started having kids of my own. I used to be a terrible teacher to my siblings, I thought they used to be little monsters who weren't capable of learning discipline.
Now, being a teacher to my own children has been and continues to be a challenging yet rewarding experience. It is so much more work than helping my mom with my siblings, that's for sure. I have no idea how I can be so patient with my kids and still love them after a long hard day of baby tantrums, cleaning of messes and endless fighting. A few months ago, I actually started believing that I had finally figured out how to raise children, and I felt good with my teaching wisdom. That feeling didn't last long because I was recently called to teach the 12 &13 yr olds Sunday School class in our ward, and I found out that I had to re-learn some things and a million others about teaching children.
Last week for the first time in many years, I quietly cried after having taught my Sunday school class. I felt very disappointed, inadequate, and confused. The kids in my class had been so disrespectful, and irreverent and I had no energy left in me to ask them to stop.
I didn't know what to do, but as the week progressed I felt calmer and my feelings of disappointment started fading. I prayed for guidance and while preparing my lesson the answer came to me.
The theme for June in the "come, follow me" manual is all about the priesthood and priesthood keys. This week the topic was all about the effectiveness of councils in the church. Last night I was reading from Elder Eyring's talk "Learning in the Priesthood" I was inspired to hold a council with the youth. I also invited the President of the Sunday School presidency to come during the last 20 mins of the lessons. His name is Br. Grondel.
I had 15 kids show up and I had them all sit in a semi circle and I didn't let anyone break the circle. I felt the spirit with me as I stood in front of them to teach them. After introducing the lesson and having a little discussion, we held a small council and spoke about the challenges I'm having with them and asked for their support and respect towards me. They came up with a simple list of steps to follow if they misbehave. It was wonderful and Br. Grondel towards the end, talked to the kids with authority and reminded them of the privilege they have to be able to be a part of such a wonderful church and to have me as their teacher.
It's been a good day. I love my calling. For the first time in a long time, I feel like my calling is mostly noticed by my Heavenly Father and Jordan who always sits in the back with Ezra. I don't serve with other adults or meet on a regular basis with a presidency, or receive a congratulations like I used to when I would teach in relief society or in sharing time. It's kinda cool. To be able to serve quietly, without any fanfare has been quite a humbling experience.