Teaching kids hospitality

Last spring a friend who is an elementary school teacher mentioned that she has received so many coffee mugs from parents she didn’t have space for any more of them. She felt completely inundated with gifts when the experience (the school year) was over.

I’ve thought about that over the last few months and it made me wonder what the experience is like at the beginning of the year for most teachers, and if there’s any connection between our work in Guest Ministries and their work in educating our children.

Here are some things to consider as the school year begins:

1) Education is a calling, and a tough one at that. Working with a collection of students with diverse personalities, needs, and gifts, and having to manage all of them simultaneously, is quite a challenge!

2) My friend was well gifted at the end of the year, but what about the beginning of the year and even throughout the year? Are we expressing hospitality to teachers as the year starts? Is there an opportunity to teach children about hospitality and generosity? Is there an opportunity to continue hospitality to the person you have entrusted your child’s education to throughout the entire school year?

3) What would it look like to teach our children gratitude for what their teacher does for them? Would simple gifts throughout the year like pens, pencils, tissues, and hand sanitizer be helpful in their work? What about the occasional hand written note thanking the teacher for how your child is growing?

4) Would encouraging children to save up allowance to buy a gift card for a teacher with their own money have an impact on their view of generosity? (What teacher wouldn’t appreciate $5 from a coffee or ice cream shop?)

Wise people have said that what we celebrate is what we encourage and what we encourage becomes normal in life. Let’s take the training we have received in Church hospitality and instill it in a younger generation. Their teacher will thank you for it.