In order to win first prize, she intensified the children’s training.
Xia Ni is a teacher in a kindergarten. Since the day she started teaching a new nursery class, she was busy with them all the time. When the term was about to end, she couldn’t help but sigh and say: “How time does fly!”
One day, the kindergarten principal announced how they were going to assess the learning achievements for the term: The teachers were asked to put their teaching content for the term in the form of games, and then to perform them for the principal. Based on the performances of the teachers and their students, the principal would give marks and decide who got the first, second and third prizes. Xia Ni thought to herself: “In the past, every time when the principal assessed learning achievements, my scores were always good. The principal and other teachers all have a good opinion of me. So this time, I must do well and win the first prize to show all of them my ability.” In order to achieve this goal, she and another fellow teacher worked out an elaborate plan. Other teachers also planned to take the chance to show their true abilities; no one wanted to fall behind.
Xia Ni began to train the children according to the plan, which included performing stories, reading, singing, dancing, playing instruments, etc. Because there were many children in her class, in order to train them to be in sync while dancing, she instructed them to practice again and again. Yet no matter how many times she corrected them, some children still made wrong movements. When they practiced playing instruments, the situation was one of total disorder. They took the maracas, double bells, castanets and tambourine as toys, played them at will, and simply didn’t follow her orders. For one whole morning, her baton had no effect on the children at all. She couldn’t help but lose her temper with them; she shouted herself almost hoarse and felt exhausted, but nothing changed. She felt extremely depressed, and thought: “If they continue to behave like this, it’ll be a miracle if we’re not last, let alone win the first prize. If our class really comes in last place, how could I, a senior teacher who has taught for more than ten years, maintain my confidence in front of the principal and the new teachers? No, I couldn’t let them look down upon me.” In order to perform well before the principal, she figured out a new plan and began to intensify the children’s training.
But after several days of intensive training, the children became irritable and lost interest in the rehearsals. And they didn’t listen to Xia Ni or her fellow teacher. No matter how she scolded them, they acted up as if on purpose—when she asked them to go to the left, they intentionally went to the right. No matter how she scolded them, or coaxed them with toys and snacks, it didn’t work: In less than two minutes, they would get into mischief again. She tried every means she could think of, but to no avail. As a result, she became weary in body and mind, and with the end-of-term performance drawing near and the children still unable to perform well, she also became more anxious. The sight of the several naughty children especially made her head feel like it was about to explode. She had no idea how to deal with them.
Seeing Clearly the Danger of Pursuing Fame and Gain
One day after work, she came home, lay on the bed, and didn’t even want to move a bit. What should she do? So, she came before God and prayed to Him, “O God! I have been so exhausted in recent days. The children don’t listen to me. Once I go into the classroom, I feel a headache starting. I don’t know what I should do. May You enlighten and lead me …” After the prayer, she contemplated her problems: Why did she become so anxious when seeing those children do badly? What drove her to be like this? At that time, she thought of God’s words: “What does Satan use to keep man penned in and controlled? (Fame and gain.) So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles.”
The enlightenment of God’s words made her realize that the reason why she wanted to train the children well was that if they acted well and won the first prize, then she would be praised and admired by the kindergarten principal and her colleagues, and receive a bonus as well, achieving her goal of winning both fame and gain. She totally lived by the satanic laws of survival, such as “As a tree lives for its bark, a man lives for his face,” “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” and “People struggle to go upward, but water flows downward.” Therefore, no matter what she did, she wanted to be admired and praised by others. She thought that if the children didn’t perform well, she would lose face before the principal and colleagues. So she intensified the training, and didn’t give them any time for play. As a result, not only couldn’t the children bear it, but she herself felt worn out. In order to win the first prize and be thought highly of by others, she bribed the children with snacks and toys, scolded them regardless of their feelings, and deprived them of their time for free activities. Wasn’t she being very selfish and inhuman? Seeing that all these things she had done for fame and gain had hurt the children, she hated herself, and prayed to God, “O God! During these days, in order to win fame and gain and satisfy my vanity, I allowed myself to be tortured so much by Satan, and I also hurt the young hearts of the children. O God, I’m willing to reverse my mistaken perspective of pursuing fame and gain, and practice according to Your words. May You give me confidence and strength so that I can get rid of the bondage of Satan. …” After praying, she felt much more at ease.
Letting Go of the Desire of Fame and Gain to Teach, Just for the Children’s Development
The next day Xia Ni came early to the kindergarten. In the garden, Chinese roses were already in full bloom—pink, cream, crimson, and snow-white—unfolding their splendor and giving off their fragrance. … Seeing this, she couldn’t help but praise the marvelous deeds of the Creator. She thought that every one of the children had a child’s nature and their own qualities and fortes, so she should not ask the children to all attain the same standard but should guide them properly according to their own interests. So, in the rehearsal that followed, the children who liked dancing were trained to dance, and those who liked singing were guided to sing. And she no longer deprived them of their playtime: After every ten minutes of rehearsal, she let them rest for a while or told them a meaningful short story. When it was time for outdoor activities, she took them to play on the slide or play games. Once when she saw some children acting up in rehearsal and nearly lost her temper, she immediately realized that her state of mind was wrong. And then she prayed to God and asked Him to keep her from getting angry so that she could treat them with tolerance and patience. At this time, she remembered God’s words: “Of course, corrupt people without any status will also frequently lose control. Their anger is frequently caused by damage to their individual benefits.” These words pierced straight to her heart. She understood that she got angry just because she feared that the children’s bad rehearsal could affect her winning the first prize, and that her anger was caused by her desire for fame and gain. So, she prayed to God in her heart and asked Him to protect her so that she wouldn’t lose her temper with the children for the sake of fame and gain, and would treat them properly. To her surprise, when she changed her motives, got rid of the intention of pursuing fame and gain, and just trained them in a normal way, the children became obedient and lovely. They no longer made noise, but happily practiced what they were taught. Although there were still a few children not keeping up, all of them were very happy. Xia Ni felt much easier than before. One time after rehearsal, when she told the children to rest for a while, a little boy ran up to her, shook her arms, and said, “Miss Xia, I still wanna play the instrument.” She handed it to him and taught him with patience. She had forgotten about grades, and thereafter just carefully taught every child in the hope that they would develop well through such training.
One day, a teacher said to Xia Ni, “What’s the use of devoting so much effort to the rehearsal? The first prize will be won by the class taught by the two teaching group leaders. We couldn’t win even if we worked ourselves to death.” Hearing this, Xia Ni smiled, thinking to herself: “Now God’s words have taught me how to be a human. I’m no longer troubled by fighting for the first prize. I just want to do honestly what I should do.” So, she said to her colleague airily, “It doesn’t matter whether we get the first prize. As long as the children can gain true development through our training, and we do not cheat them and their parents, then we will have performed our responsibilities as teachers.” Hearing this, this teacher said to her approvingly, “You’re right. It’s OK so long as these children can learn some real things.”
Practicing the Truth and Winning First Prize
Time went quickly. In the blink of an eye, the end-of-term performance was upon them. The night before, Xia Ni turned and tossed in bed because she was somewhat nervous. She was still worried about whether the children would perform well the next day. “What if those few naughty children get up to mischief and affect the grading? What will happen tomorrow?” she thought. Then, she realized that she’d started to worry about the result again. She told herself not to think about that, but she couldn’t simply control it. Then, she kneeled on the bed and prayed to God, asking Him to help her quiet her heart before Him and stop racking her brain to think of ways to win fame and gain. God’s words say: “You will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. Until the day you come to recognize this, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan brings to bind you. When the time comes for you to wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and will also truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will you have a real love and yearning for God.” God’s words made her understand that living for fame and gain only brought misery, to the point that she was seriously disturbed and upset, and unable to fall asleep at night. The pursuit of fame and gain was indeed not a positive thing but a shackle used by Satan to bind her. At that time, she gained some discernment and hatred toward fame and gain. She was no longer willing to pursue them and became willing to deliver the next day’s performance into God’s hands. How the children would perform and what the grade would be were determined by God; her worries wouldn’t change anything. She was just willing to submit to God’s orchestration and arrangements. After praying, she calmed down and soon fell asleep easily.
The next day, before the performance began, Xia Ni’s fellow teacher said to her, “Later on, we’d better not allow those few naughty children to go on stage. If they get up to mischief, our score will be affected.” Hearing this, Xia Ni thought about how she had made so much effort, and that if a few children disrupted their performance … Without thinking further, she eagerly agreed, “OK.” But after saying that, she felt culpable, and hurried to pray to God silently. Then a passage of God’s words came to her mind: “Honesty means to give your heart to God; never to play Him false in anything; to be open with Him in all things, never hiding the truth; never to do that which deceives those above and deludes those below; and never to do that which merely ingratiates yourself with God. In short, to be honest is to refrain from impurity in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man.”
Xia Ni pondered these words: “Aren’t God’s words revealing my real situation exactly? I agreed not to let those few naughty children go on stage, and thus not to show everyone the real situation in our class, because I’m despicable enough to want to cover up the inadequacies of my class. Isn’t this resorting to deceit and playing tricks to get a good grade? I often profess that everything I do is for the children, so now how can I deprive the children of their rights to perform on the stage just in order to get a good score? I always say nice-sounding things, but once my own interest and honor gets involved, I still do things to deceive others.” Thinking of this, Xia Ni knew that she was too selfish and too deceitful. She cared only about her own gains and losses, and not about the emotions of the children or their parents. If they knew that she wanted to deceive them, wouldn’t she be seen as someone who has no dignity or integrity? Thinking of this, she felt very ashamed and remorseful, and prayed to God in her heart, “O God, I have seen that my heart is still a prisoner to fame and gain. In order to get a good score so as to be admired and looked up to by others, I still can resort to deceit. I’m willing to let go of my vanity and practice the truth of being an honest person to satisfy You. May You give me the will to forsake my flesh.” After the prayer, she said to her co-teacher, “We might as well let them take part in the show together with the other children. We’ve worked so hard all these days. Haven’t all our efforts been for all these children to perform on the stage? …” Xia Ni’s persisted, so the teacher agreed to let them all go on stage, except for one child.
Accompanied by beautiful background music and verbal commands, their performance, that had lasted more than one hour, finally came to an end. The kindergarten principal was very satisfied, and commended Xia Ni and her fellow teacher on their seamless cooperation, the wonderful performance, and the active participation of all the children in their class. After the seven nursery classes finished all their performances, Xia Ni’s class was awarded the first prize, which made her and her fellow teacher feel a little surprised. However, she knew very well that it was all God’s blessing for her. She’d just put a little truth into practice according to God’s words, and therefore she received His blessing. She was filled with gratitude to God, not for the first prize, but for God’s constant leadership and guidance through His words since the beginning of the matter so that she could get rid of the affliction, seduction, and temptation of fame and gain. This made her truly appreciate that God’s words are the truth, and that only by living by God’s words can one be an upstanding person and live with the likeness of a true human.
Now in her teaching Xia Ni is no longer tempted by fame and gain, but takes responsibility for the children’s development, and enjoys a happy classroom with them.is always with her every day. She thanks God sincerely for letting her feel that it’s so good to have His company.
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