Some may be familiar with the words that follow. They were written by Nelson Mandela and come from Long Walk to Freedom.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
"I know how. I can do it! Remember, you teached me?!", he happily reminded me. Up on tiptoes, he slid the birdfeeder from the hook, found the sliding latch, and proceeded to undo it, freeing the opening to receive the seed from an old Maxwell House coffee can filled from the large container of bird seed stored in the shed.
That encounter stuck with me and his words, "you teached me" (I wasn't inclined to make a correction) played over in my head. Curious it felt, that he didn't say "you showed me".
And I got to thinking. The first time he'd come over to help, he actually performed the actions, happy to actively participate as I stood by to give help or guidance when and if it was needed. Filling a bird feeder, a simple rather mundane task, presented an opportunity. Teaching...instructing, with a heart-to-heart, hands on sharing, creating and nurturing a relationship. This one a happy, positive, affirming one.
Doing the best one can to live by The Spirit and in doing so, developing and nurturing the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control, these positive attributes can be expressed in even the most simple circumstances.
Each day, whether with grow-ups or children, we've got chances to be teachers (and students!), not merely "helicopter parents", hovering and crowding or a show and tell display at a distance.
Lord, help us to be ever mindful...for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Yours in Christ,