What an amazing journey I had this past year! I was given the honor to teach a group of Hispanic parents in the Springdale Family Literacy Program. Monday-Thursday these women (and one gentleman) showed up to my little cottage outside an elementary school with one motivation…providing a better life for their families.
They each had their unique story of hardship and perseverance.
One mother could only come two days a week because she woke up at 4:00 am to get some exercise and then head to work to clean houses for other people for twelve hours. Then she would go to the Technical College to take English classes. She would come to my class on her days off to learn more English and to learn how to help her child.
Another mom worked nights and then came to class after her shift before sleeping.
Some were learning to read and write for the first time ever…in their second language.
Even though I was the teacher, these women taught me more than I could ever put into words…but I will try.
They taught me that sometimes the most important thing you can do for your child is just to be present. They would get to spend thirty minutes in their child’s classroom each day. The children were so excited each time their moms walked through the door. They could learn together! They showed their children that education is very important.
They taught me that women’s ministry is more than a Bible study. Each day that I prepared lessons and learning experiences for this group, I was meeting a very real need in their life that not just anyone could do. I was called to these women “for such a time as this.”
They taught me the importance of genuine community. They always welcomed in new students. They always were looking out for each other. If it was raining and a student or two didn’t have transportation, they made sure no one walked home. When someone came to school with a family issue, they were sure to follow-up by visiting their home after class.
They taught me that there is so much joy in sharing good food! I tried to abstain because I have been on a diet, but they were persistent. Food is a love language!
They taught me that the issue of immigration is so much more that a bunch of faceless individuals who want to live in America. These are real people with real dreams for their families. There is no easy fix, but I am proud of all the efforts that Springdale is making to help these individuals.
They taught me by example about how even more beautiful #TheSmallLife can be than I realized.
And the biggest thing they taught me was sometimes you don’t really need language at all to communicate sincere respect and compassion.
These woman changed me, and for that I am forever grateful!
The following video was produced by the school district. In the video Ines and Blanca were two of my students. It is worth the four minutes to watch!