23rd June 2020
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”
James 1:19 (NIV)
I was in my classroom last week and I noticed that one of my students had her hood on. A few months before, her mum had cut her hair really short (which she didn’t love) but the school has a rule that no students are allowed to wear hoods inside. I asked her to take it off but she just looked at me. I asked her again to take it off and still, she did nothing. This was really strange for her because she normally responds well to me and does what I ask her to do.
I was so really frustrated with her and asked once again to take her hood off or there would be a consequence for not following instructions. Still, it stayed on.
When my students were doing independent learning, I took her outside and asked what was wrong because it was so out of character for her. I found out that there was a girl in our class that had been teasing her because of her short hair. She was saying things like “you look like a boy” and “I hate you because of your hair”.
My heart broke. I had been frustrated at this little seven-year-old girl for not taking her hood off in the classroom, but she was just protecting herself from a bully.
I went straight to the office and bought her a $13 school beanie so she could wear that instead of her hood. As soon as she put the beanie on, her whole demeanour changed and she was the confident little girl I knew!
In this situation, I realised how important James 1:19 really is. I could have punished this little girl for not following instructions, but instead I made time to listen.
God is so clever. He gave us two ears and one mouth. We need to listen twice as much as we speak.
It doesn’t matter who you are, your position or your title, “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry".