Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Glue

Teaching full time this year has been quite the learning experience for me. It has certainly limited how many posts I’ve been able to manage, filling my writing time instead with lesson plans, curriculum mapping, etc.

And being in a small school, I’ve seen things. Yes. Yes, I have. Anything from kids tying their shoes together and attempting to run down the hall, to having taller kids try and drop glue in shorter kids’ hair. Yes. I said that. There were times when it felt like Kindergarten Cop for sure, but overall, it’s been a blast. 

Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you the musings of an art teacher. In a sense, it’s a break from my seven years of science and faith blogging, but not really because at the very heart of science is observation. 

And that’s what I hope to share with you. My observations. So let’s dive in.

Not too long ago I bought 25 glue bottles for our yarn art and quilled art projects. By chance, we added a new student in our largest class to make the count 26. When I went to the store to get another glue bottle, they only had a larger size. I sighed.

You see I have three kids of my own and I know how this works. Everyone wants the bigger thing…no matter what it is. If there’s a bigger brownie, we’ll arm wrestle for it (though who can blame you for that!), if there’s a bigger car we want it. Bigger is better, right?

So I stood in the crafts aisle, staring down that glue bottle. "You won't win," I said.

I picked it up and tracked down a store clerk, begging her to find out if there were smaller glue bottles anywhere. Nope. None. Nada.

Really? How much money to I want to waste on gas going to another store just for a smaller bottle? I sighed again…

“Unfair!” one child cried as another grabbed the bottle. Others complained, “Why does he get to use the bigger bottle?”

Later as I put the glue away, I wondered why it is that we always want the bigger thing. What is it that drives us to want more? 

I talked to several people about it, just trying to be philosophical, and they all looked at me like I was high on some of that legal Colorado stuff...

But I’m not. Those very things that we wish for, our deep sometimes unknown desires, speak volumes about who we are and what we need.

Our constant need for bigger and better is an indication that we are not happy with the way things are. We strive for more. But in most cases, it speaks to something internal of which we may not be aware. After speaking with many others, digging through psychology books, and asking questions, the answer most prevalent is that we are not seeking the physical as much as we are seeking something internal.

Many posts ago I wrote about the hole in our hearts and why it is there. My supposition has not changed. There is a longing, a deep unfulfilled longing that no matter how much we love something or someone seems insatiable. 

It’s an eternal longing, it’s a need for God’s love. Whether we recognize it as that…well, that’s up to us.

So who gets the bigger glue bottle in art class? Now we pull a name out of a hat and that winner gets to use it for the class. The lucky student is filled with pride as they walk back to their table with that never-gonna-use-it-all bottle, but they are happy for a short time. 

And the added blessing that I’ve seen happen? Most times they use it for a bit then decide to share it with a classmate…proving once again that God’s love can never be hoarded. It needs to be shared.