5 Things I’ve Learned From 3rd Graders


This is my first year working in the public school system. Most of the work I’ve done with youth in ministry, has been with preteens and teens, but now I’m working with babies. Second, third and fourth graders! These kids are from all walks life and are dealing with sometimes extreme circumstances. In the seven months I’ve been here, I believe I have learned more from them, then they have from me.

1.     Know who is on your side.

You may not realize it but kids can recognize bull crap when they see it. The idea of no child left behind is a great, but some teachers seem to only give a fighting chance to the students they like. Many behavior problems in the class room can be attributed to the fact that a child knows how the teacher feels about him or her, so they behave accordingly. For me, this means that I should be sensitive to the feelings of others toward me, and respond accordingly. The benefit of the doubt should only last for so long, because when a person shows you who they are or how they feel about you, believe them. I can still love them and treat them well, but I don’t have to accept the bull crap they are unloading.

2.     People will hate on you just to have your attention.

I was dealing with a student that was having some behavioral problems. She was sent to me wpid-imag2821.jpgwith some review work that needed to be completed that day, and she was seemingly having trouble with the concepts. I helped her with the first four problems on the assignment, and told her that she was going to have to do some of it alone. She raised her hand whining, and I told her that I had done so much with her and I was confident that she could figure it out if she just tried. After a few minutes I go to her desk, on which she has written, “ball and fat Mr. Murfeay!” (Translated, bald and fat Mr. Murphy)

She looked up at me and giggled, because she had what she wanted the whole time. MY ATTENTION. She has told me before, repeatedly, that she doesn’t like me. However, when she has good days and weeks, or when she makes good grades, she cant wait to tell me. For me, this proves that all haters aren’t hating. Some people just want your attention. It is very important that you not waste energy, time, nor resources addressing your haters; because in some cases, that’s all they wanted you to do anyway.

3.     You may be trapped in the darkness, but you can always find the light.

This was just a dope quote from the mind of a third grader …

4.     You really don’t know what you want.

“I want to go to the bathroom.” 

“Can I go to the counselor’s office?”

“Can I have the blue one? I can’t do it without the blue one!!!”

Kids will offer any excuse to get out of doing what you want them to do. But those same kids want good grades. They are so self-centered to think that if they just satisfy their immediate desires, then they will be happy. Only to get what they want, and realize that’s not what they wanted at all.

For me, this means that we need to be keenly aware of those things we need, those things we desire, and those things we can live without. Many of us will waste time on stuff that was never really necessary. If we could just learn to focus on the things that bring real joy, peace, and fulfillment, we would save ourselves frustration. Because it is very possible to get it done withOUT the blue one.

5.     Confidence is key.

I watch kids who know how to do the work, hesitate. They are so unsure about what to do and how to do it, that they will quickly second guess themselves. Whenever a child isn’t confident in his or her work, it is easy to convince them they are wrong (even when they are right). Some lessons are even designed to sometime tear down a student’s confidence. Many of you have even had teachers to make you feel inadequate.

For me, this shows how many of us allow diffidence to slow us down, or worse.  If you only knew how proud teacher is to see how well you doing. If only you knew that you were on the right track. If you only could see that there is no reason to second guess yourself, because in life confidence is key.

© 2015 Team Murph Publishing/DJoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your family, friends and social media to help spread this encouragement. Thank you for reading!

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