The Power of A Seed
After a long and tiring school day, TransformNation alumnus, Mark, was finishing up his teaching plan and getting ready to leave when two of his students knocked on his office’s door and said, “Excuse us, Teacher Mark, can we read books in your office, please?” Mark wanted to go home and rest but he understood how rare books are on Gapanau Island, and that the school is the only place children can access books. He allowed them on the condition that they tidy up the books after they finished. They smiled, agreed, and happily began reading the books.
Ten minutes passed and other kids from the village came by. Mark didn’t recognize them as they were not students of the school. They entered Mark’s office abruptly and without saying anything, took several books, and put them on their laps. Mark decided not to say anything to them as he was aware that manners and common courtesy were not part of their culture. Many children on Gapanau Island grow up without adult supervision because their parents have to work for months on other islands. It’s common that children as young as 8 years old bear the responsibility of caring for younger siblings with limited resources. Stealing, malnourishment, and under-age marriage are part of the battles Mark faces every day.
Suddenly, Mark noticed that his students stood up and said to the kids who had just arrived, “If you want to read books, you can’t just enter this room like that. You have to first ask for permission from Teacher Mark, because these books belong to the school. This is what you should do: knock on the door first and say, ‘Can we read some books, please?’ If Teacher Mark says yes, then you can enter this room. That’s how you should do it!” The kids who arrived without permission then did what the students said.
“I was astonished,” Mark said. That simple gesture done by his students was a victory for him. It was the result of hours of teaching with patience and humility. He remembered how far behind his students were in their first year, and how frustrated he was. He felt like he wanted to give up and for years it seemed like all the seeds he was sowing were not producing results. “When I remained silent and they took the initiative to teach their friends, it was proof that those seeds had in fact grown. I’m so proud that they are starting to become influencers in their community.”
Seeing the growth in the character of his students convinced Mark that Christian education impacts both students and teachers. “My patience and resilience were honed too,” he said. He learned that it takes time and repetition to form good habits. “Good habits need cultivation to transform culture,” he concluded.
Well done, Teacher Mark! Thanks to you, your students are sparking positive change for the future!