More than Markers - Catherine Van Tatenhove

Feb 11, 2018

I wish every single person who has ever lived and will live could see my student’s faces when I get out markers. Their eyes grow big, and their joy matches if not exceeds, their facial features. I’ve always loved this about my students. Admittedly, because sometimes it makes keeping them engaged easier (and that’s always a bonus with 26 little faces and opinions). However, recently I’ve been aware of something much greater hidden in their profound joy for seemingly insignificant activities. They figured something out I’m just beginning to understand.


Life is too short, and often too hard, not to smile, cheer, and jump up and down for markers.


Most of the time, I want to see drastic change. I want the ground to shake. I want second graders to suddenly understand and do everything perfectly. And, while a student’s significant improvement can bring great joy, the real joy lies in and with Our Father. The real joy is not in what we think is so big and important according to this world. The real joy is in the small every day miracles God orchestrates for us. Yes, even as small as getting to use markers!


What are your markers? What are the small blessings God gives you that are your shred of light in a dark, hurting world? Losing sight of these is easy, so that’s why I’m constantly reminding myself of their faces. Their faces when, yes, they see the markers, but also when they see a sticker at the top of their paper. Or, when they find a book with crisp white pages and an untouched cover. Or, when they finally get the grade they wanted in math or reading. Or, when they have a new name tag taped to their desk. Or, when they get to go in the hall with a visitor from one of our short term mission teams. They love it all. They soak it all in as if it may be their very last day in our classroom, and they do it all with unprecedented enthusiasm.


As Valentine’s Day approaches our kids here at Sonlight are excited for Mardi Gras break, and the added hearts (and heart candy) floating around our classrooms. I decided to write my students Valentine’s, and as I was handing them out I heard one of the boys in the back corner of the room say, “Wow, look how beautiful this writing is!” Another, chimed in after him, “Look at my sticker!” Pretty soon a chorus of beaming faces was turning to me begging to show me every detail of the card they had been given. They held it in the air for their friends to see. They read it once, and then decided they needed to read it again. They wanted to run their fingers over the writing, and study every sticker that lined the words. So, I let them revel in their simple joy.


While, I thanked God for the reminder that we will never find fulfillment in what screams for our attention in this world. Only in our humble, everlasting, God. And, of course in markers!



Happy Valentine’s day from our Sonlight family to yours! We love you!