Ten years ago our church secretary, Peggy, started mentoring a 1st grader named Jacob. She called me yesterday to say that this “little boy” (now a High School student) and his mother had stopped by her house to check in. The family moves often, and mom changes her cellphone number almost as often as she changes clothes, so they had been out of touch for several years.
Jacob's mother said he had been begging to stop by and check in on Peggy for months, since she was “getting old”. Jacob asked if she still made brownies, and she immediately gave him what was left in the pan in her kitchen.
“You just never know what they’re taking in, and what they’ll remember,” Peggy said. This is important since many of their mentoring sessions took place with Jacob hiding under the desk or completely disengaged from learning. Yet still, he was taking in the love…which is where all learning begins. Mother Teresa said, “before a child will eat, they have to know they are loved.” And I’ve observed the same to be true about learning, before a child can learn they need to know they are loved, that someone cares about them. Peggy communicated her love to Jacob by showing up each week for the next six years, by bringing brownies to celebrate his special accomplishments, and writing him notes in the summer to let him know she was missing him and looking forward to the start of school in the fall.
“You just never know,” she repeated again. And it's in the the "not knowing" God keeps us humble, depending on and trusting in him and his ways, as his slow moving kingdom advances one little heart at a time.