I admit my husband has often good-naturedly exclaimed, “I’m married to a fifth-grader!” To some, that might seem like a put-down; to me, after teaching fifth-graders for so many years, it’s the highest of compliments.
I love children of all ages! In some ways, I still enjoy acting like one. (If you’ve experienced personal examples of that, try to resist commenting in the box below. 🙂 ) Yes, I love them all, but when ten-year-old fifth-graders jump into my quiver, they hit the sweet spot on my heart, and I am most blessed. I LOVE that age, and I love a full quiver! (“Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:4-5)
Fifth Grade Goodness
Ten-year-old kids know how to tell a good joke, and they understand yours. They eagerly teeter on the edge of abstract thinking. Their young wheels whirl whenever a new idea gets pitched their way. They usually comply with your request after hearing the reasons why they need to do something. Most likely, you would enjoy hearing them reason things out, and they would definitely delight in knowing you truly listened. Fifth-graders crave affirmation and encouragement as they talk through their beliefs and feelings.
Most all of them possess a keen sense of justice, so you’d better not step across their line or the line of their best friend. They’ve been known to duke it out over such things.
I believe when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt they resembled a bunch of fifth-graders. After recognizing Moses as their deliverer, they hurriedly gathered their belongings and trekked out of captivity. The dusty footprints still lingering in the hardened riverbed dissolved when God caused the waters to fall back into place, completely submerging the Egyptian army. The Israelites had listened. They obeyed. They felt affirmed and encouraged. They were free.
If only they had remained as fifth-graders! As their journey continued, they turned into grumbling teenagers who griped about their living conditions, the folks in charge, and the limited menu. So, like any good father, God removed His hand of blessing and protection from his rebellious teenagers and let them suffer the consequences of their own choices. Psalm 78:11 explains why, “They forgot what he had done, the wondrous works he had shown them.”
Eventually, God covered His people once again with faithful love and a whole lot of mercy. He chose His servant David to shepherd them with a pure heart, and guide them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:70-72) As a result, the Israelites passed down all they and their forefathers had seen and heard. They told their children the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His might, and the wondrous works He had performed. (Psalm 78:4) They remembered all they had forgotten.
Becoming a Fifth-grader
If you don’t think like a fifth-grader anymore, rest assured, it’s a good way to think. Jesus even said, “Unless you change and become as a little child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” He wants us childlike, without becoming childish. So, lay aside your worries over viruses and toilet paper for a few minutes, and take a mental trip back through your life. Mark the places where you’ve seen God do incredible things. Write them down. (What else are you going to do while we’re all needing to be socially distant?) What prayers has God answered with the results you wanted? Which ones are you glad He denied? Has anyone been healed? Has anyone been saved? Has God ever turned what Satan meant for your harm into something exceedingly, abundantly more than you could have ever imagined? Think on those things for a while, and become childlike in your faith again. Feel the wonder. Trust in knowing He will do it again.
Once you’ve remembered all you may have forgotten, share the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord! You and your friends/family would no doubt enjoy swapping stories. What better way to keep those wheels whirling! Share your beliefs and feelings. Listen. Affirm. Encourage. You might even want to explain why you do what you do or why you need what you need. Effective communication keeps us from crossing lines we can’t clearly see. (Read that last sentence one more time!)
Above all, teach those under your influence well so that future generations – children yet to be born – might know your reasons for trusting God. Rise and tell them so they might put their confidence in Him. Remind them of all His wonderful works so they will want to keep His commands. (Psalm 78:6-7) Your own faith will grow in the telling.
Become a fifth-grader again, trust your Father, and watch Him work all of our days into something excellent and praiseworthy!