By Beth Pinyerd
During the early portion of the summer, I love riding along Lee County roads and spotting cool shady meadows where I can let my little dog Cookie run and roll in the cool, green grass.
In the distance, I hear the small rush of water from a stream after it has rained. These are excursions I love because it is cool, still and I can reflect on happy thoughts from the children I have taught.
As a young child growing up in the schools in the 1950s, 1960s, I remember our teachers always had a Bible verse of truth to guide our day and put in our hearts. Psalm 23 was always up on the blackboard for we children to copy on our tablet paper and to memorize and recite to our teachers.
The other evening I was teaching and working with some of our elementary students in evening worship. One of the young ladies asked if she could quote the 23rd Psalm. As she quoted the 23rd Psalm, she explained to me how much this chapter meant to her during a very difficult year in her life.
As her teacher, I could relate and understand. Truly with all the events that have hit Lee County during the last three months, I think that we can all relate to Psalm 23, the psalm that the shepherd David wrote to show us that we can build our trust in God because He is unchanging. I would like for us to read and reflect on the truth of these verses in knowing that He alone takes care of us.
Children love to study about sweet lambs and sheep. They understand that sheep need a shepherd to take care of them.
Verse one: “The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want.” They understand that a good shepherd loves his sheep. He wants to see his sheep contented, well fed, safe, and flourishing in his care. When sheep turn over on their backs they have to have the shepherd to turn them over and get them back on their feet. In tragedies and loss, God walks beside us to get us back on our feet.
Verse two: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside still waters.” The shepherd sees that His flock is free from any disturbance. In recovering from tragedies, God guides us to be still so we can hear his love and guidance through the Bible and our prayers. Just like a shepherd feeds his sheep the food they need, God feeds us the spiritual food we need in order to live our lives and to encourage others.
Verse three: “He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Just like a shepherd leads his flock of sheep on the right paths so they don’t fall off cliffs, God guides us with His staff, which is the Word of God and His gentle guidance as we pray and listen to Him.
Verse four: “Yea , though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” For a child, what they hear in our world can be very scary to them. As teachers, parents and families, similar to how a shepherd reassures his sheep, we have to reassure our children that when life is scary that God is present and in control.
Verse five: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” The Lord always goes ahead of us and protects us. One way to reassure children is with a hug when they fear the future. To have your child focus on the beauty of nature, good memories, friends and families gently guides him or her on happy thoughts rather than fears. We can look upon past blessings as a stockpile of evidence that God is taking care of us. This is the divine oil of love, total understanding and grace that God rubs in our wounds, Children understand that God does answer prayers.
Verse six: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” I can clearly remember one of my preschool students daily would sing, “Heaven is a wonderful place, full of God’s glory and grace as she would draw, play, and be with her friends.” When talking to my young students about heaven, they have such a good understanding that Heaven is where there is Love, no more pain or tears. We can glean from children to trust our shepherd and to joyfully greet God in the cool grass of the meadow.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.