Psalms 24, 29; Jer. 1: 1-10; 1 Cor. 3: 11-23; Mark 3: 31-4: 9
Who is our foundation (From the Psalms and Corinthian verses)?
To whom do we listen (From the verses in Mark)?
For whom are we a spokesperson (From Jeremiah)?
It is an exciting time to be in the field of education because we are learning so much about “how we learn” from emerging neuroscience or brain research on development. Scientists have come to understand that what fills our mind is what we see, what we hear, what we taste, touch and smell. And then, we reflect upon, we mull over, what is already there in our thoughts. Our sensory experience is the stuff that our mind is made of!
In the Gospel verses, Mark calls us to see that what we sow, the fertile soil in which we spend our time and our thoughts, is what we will become (Mk. 4: 9). Thereby, what we sow will shape our will and in turn, our actions (Mk 3: 35).
I’m privileged to spend Sunday mornings with children in our church whose parents are conscientiously sowing seeds of God’s love in their minds and hearts. The result is children who, on a day-to-day basis are kind, respectful, compassionate, and simply a delight to be around! These parents have cultivated a fertile field in which to create a foundation of God. We can support them by making sure that their experiences at St. Margaret’s are consistently grounded in love of one another.
But, always a challenge for parents is the letting go—knowing children will go out to sow on their own --- will they continue to sow in God’s fertile ground? Science has come to understand the brain is malleable: We used to think that what happened to children in the very young years was unchangeable. From a negative perspective, if they had a childhood of toxic stress, they would struggle throughout their lives. Instead, research has shown us that children’s brains can change and with diligence, a difficult early experience can be reshaped by love and consistency. Unfortunately, the converse is also true: A strong childhood foundation of love can be broken down by years of adversity, anxiety and attack.
That is where these verses draw us in as adults. We must continue to listen to God’s word, to touch God’s love, to experience the sweet aroma of His presence in our lives so that our will to do good is strengthened and persists.
Wendy Hinrichs Sanders has taught early childhood education at College of the Desert for eight years and is now, to her great joy, facilitating Kid’s Word on Sunday mornings with an amazing group of St. Margaret’s children! Her husband, Pete, has finally retired and they are so enjoying living all the time in the same house again!