St. James Episcopal Day School

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Learning From Our Children

Learning From Our Children

Apr 11, 2017

The Rev. Ralph Howe

The Rev. Ralph Howe

Day School Chaplain


A few years ago, I had one of those pondering moments when I thought about how Christ came to this earth. Why did he come as a baby? He could have just appeared as a young man, even as a teenager, who was impressive enough to get the attention of the society of the day. He could have appeared as an older man (or even a woman) whose wisdom got the people’s attention. However, he came as a child.

I didn’t have to ponder this very long. It made sense to me. Everyday, I see your miraculous children arriving for school. I immediately smile. I watch Lauren Ray smile. I watch the teachers grinning from ear to ear.  Occasionally, someone walking to work nearby will pass us. They have that look on their faces as if they are thinking through their day before they arrive at the office. It is a serious look, then they raise their eyes to see this procession of children arriving at St. James. As they temporarily forget their busy day that is to come, the smile comes.

Children bring out the best in us. They know how to laugh. They know how to play. They take in the wonders of the world and God’s creation. They are not embarrassed to giggle or to speak when they cannot remember a name. They project joy.

Where else could I get a number of “high fives” during the day? Where else, when walking across a playground, could I get ambushed by an unexpected hug? Where else could I work and smile when someone who cannot remember my name comes to me and says, “Hey! You are Father uh, Father hmmm, … the church guy.”

I am reminded of my own children, who when I “blew it” as a parent, they always seemed to forgive.  I am reminded that when something was bothering me, they would spot it, and come by with a kiss or a gentle pat on the arm.

It amuses me that in an institution of teaching, the learning process comes from the adult in the front of the class, but also from those in the desks. Perhaps God comes to us in the Christ child, but also through your children, to remind us of very important lessons.

We need to remember to laugh, to forgive, to play. We need to become aware, once again, of the wonders of the world around us. We need to bring joy into the lives of others, even when it is not intentional.

Thank you for the gift of your children and how they change our lives. No wonder Christ came as a child. We have a lot to learn from them.

Fr. Ralph Howe, Day School Chaplain