Editor’s note: Today’s devotional message was written before the changes brought by COVID-19, but as we return to fewer restrictions, it’s important to revisit this message and find ways to reset ourselves, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
FREE RANGE EDUCATORS
September 13, 2021
Prayer: God, get us out of the narrow boxes of our own and other’s expectations. Get us into your expectations. Heal our clipped wings and arthritic spiritual knees that are cramped from being in the same place and position so long! Make us free range educators! Amen
Scripture: How blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting yourself and the students range free. Adapted from Isaiah 32:20
Educators! We must get out of the small boxes we have placed ourselves in at home and school. Staying too long in these boxes makes our bodies and spirits weak and sick. God did not make us to live for prolonged times in tiny, narrow spaces. He made us to be free range educators!
Go fishing or on a picnic. Go walking, running, biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, or to the gym. Sit on the porch and do nothing. Buy and use a hammock. Go to a concert or on a cruise. Take a grand vacation. Buy a houseplant. Grow a garden. Get a new pet. Start a new hobby. Take your spouse or friend on a mystery date or adventure. Go on a mission trip. You are a free range person!
At lunch, go eat outside on the playground or on a bench and feel the sunshine. Before school, after school, or during your planning period, walk outside around the school several times while praying with your eyes open. Go to a ball game or recital of one of your students. Make a home visit with a coworker. Plan to take your students on a field trip where you have never gone. Play with your students at recess. Get to REALLY know and have fun with some of your coworkers. Create new materials, strategies, and activities. Go to a weekend teacher conference. Attend secondary school activities (sports and performances) with friends and family. Get outside the box! You are a free range educator!
Free range chickens and other livestock live longer, happier, healthier lifestyles than their cooped up counterparts. They produce more nutritious foods. Are you living a natural, healthy lifestyle so you can produce healthier, happier, more productive family members, students and friends? Are you cooped up at work in your classroom or office most of the day and then inside your home in the evenings and on weekends? Who is in control of your coops? Is it you, your family, your employer, your friends, or Jesus? Who can break you out of the yoke of a narrow, harmful lifestyle?
A friend recently gave me 18 eggs from his free range chicken flock. When I opened the package I was awed by their diversity and beauty. The yokes are such a deep color. They are SO healthy to eat! Family members, students, and friendships are what you produce. Are they beautiful, diverse, and deep? Get out of the box, if not for yourself, then for them. Your happiness and health helps create theirs.
TIPS FOR BECOMING FREE RANGE: 1) Seek and follow God’s expectations first. 2) Delegate responsibility. 3) Establish and secure needed boundaries at home, school, and in relationships. 4) Stop trying to do it all. 5) Stop trying to be perfect in everything. 6) Stop trying to meet EVERYONE’S expectations.
Copyright Don Clark. To connect with the author email DClark@ceai.org
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