Let Your Light Shine during this time of Racial Reconciliation
By Yvette Miguez
Together we have ventured into the unknown and created a new method of learning. The New York City Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza has compared it to building a plane while flying it. If we started e-learning with a fixed mindset about technology, we soon realized by God’s grace that we were capable of learning quickly how to adapt and change to do what our students need.
Not only did we encounter this change, but in light of the recent events in response to the death of George Floyd, we are now encountering another layer of change. More than ever we are realizing and facing the need for an understanding of how to navigate racial reconciliation.
Matthew 5:14 -16 states, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Although these past weeks have not been business as usual, this is not the time to go on as if nothing has happened. We need to address this event because it has impacted their lives and their families. We need to let our light shine during this time. If we remain in contact with our students, it would be a great encouragement to be present and available to support thoses who may be in need of being heard and having their feelings validated.
Jesus describes us as a “city on a hill that can not be hidden.” The world is watching us, our actions, and our words. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction on how to best represent Jesus, at such a time as this. I am reminded of the famous saying, “What would Jesus do?” According to the Word of God, we know that Jesus would say, “Let the little children come to me.” In the same way we need to listen and support and not ignore the current situation.
Here are some critical ways we can support our students and families both now and in the fall when we are back in school:
Ask your students how they are doing and assure them that you are here for them if they need to talk. They may not have many people in their lives who think that their thoughts, feelings, or questions are important enough to listen to. We may not have the answers but can be a source of hope for them.
Provide a safe space
If an opportunity arises, bring the situation into the classroom by allowing freedom of expression. A Christian teacher I know had his students write poems and raps to express their feelings.
Now more than ever teachers have the ears of parents. Provide opportunities for open conversation and love your students and their families.
The Serenity Prayer comes to my mind. God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. We cannot go back and change the circumstances that happened to George Floyd and the many victims like him. The courage to change the things we can. Ask the Lord to grant you the courage to be a believer who is willing to love and be an instrument of change by listening and becoming more aware that all lives matter, but unfortunately the evidence proves that people need a better understanding that Black lives matter too. And the wisdom to know the difference. Pray that the Lord will give you wisdom to know when and how to be best used by Him during this time.
Finally Christian educator, remember you are to let your light shine before others so that the world may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.
Yvette Miguez is Assistant Principal in the New York City Department of Education. She supervises two Special Education programs that serve students ages 5 to 21 who are on a range of cognitive functioning levels on the autism spectrum, are significantly emotionally challenged, have sensory impairments, or have multiple disabilities. She also oversees the ELL/Multi-language Learners department for the eight schools tied to her program. She is known for her strong belief in family engagement and her passion for multilingual learners with special needs. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially with her 18-year-old son Johnny who has ASD. She has been a Christian since she was 18 years old and one of her favorite verses is Colossians 3:23.