She Likes Me! – Ken Williams
SHE LIKES ME! The story of a middle school teacher expressing God’s heart with an “unlikeable” kid.
John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”
God has a heart. Yes!
Nancy, my wife and retired teacher, subs for a local middle school. She shared with me how she worked with a boy few liked, including his classmates. She’s a good teacher but gives credit to God’s love for the boy that motivated her. Her story helped me reconsider God’s love for the world and take it a step further by receiving it personally, from his heart.
“She Likes Me!”
“I accepted an assignment to substitute teach 7th grade students for a month while their teacher convalesced following surgery. I enjoy working with middle school children and looked forward to this assignment. The students were cooperative, and all was going well except for one disruptive boy. His teacher had informed me that he would likely be disruptive and a challenge to work with. She and other substitute teachers commonly removed him from the classroom and sent him to the principal’s office. It didn’t take long for him to disrupt my teaching. His disruptions during class included speaking loudly, attempting to get other students’ attention, getting out of his seat, and moving about the classroom. Apparently, others warned him publicly that he would be sent to the principal’s office if he didn’t get back in his seat and be quiet. I chose to take him aside, out of respect for him, and explained he was welcome in my classroom, but I do not allow anyone to distract students from learning. I explained he was being inconsiderate, and this would stop. I told him he could remain or go to the principal’s office it was his choice. He chose to stay.”
“The boy wasn’t participating in class, but he was no longer distracting other students. One day after class I asked him if he intended to turn in his missing assignments. I explained that I was concerned for him and without the past work he could not be graded and therefore receive no credit for the class. He responded with bravado saying he didn’t care. He said even if he wanted the credit for the class he was too far behind to catch up. I told him it was possible for him to catch up and I would work with him if he desired. To my delight he was willing to receive my help and we met in the study hall to work on past assignments. He began to be considerate of his classmates and even appeared to enjoy the class.”
“My assignment came to an end after five weeks with the return of the regular teacher. I got involved in other substitution assignments but wondered how the boy was doing. One day in between classes his teacher shared with me that soon after her return the boy became disruptive. She became irritated and asked him, ‘What would Mrs. Williams think about you acting like this!?’ He smiled and replied, ‘She likes me!’”
“She likes me!” God’s heart in Nancy enabled the boy to realize he’s likeable. Nancy liked him, so he must be likeable after all. Nancy’s story freed me to reconsider God’s love for all of us. In time it dawned on me, that like that boy, my sins and character flaws were disruptive and inconsiderate of others. How could he like me? Jesus’ life and ministry, how he became friends with other disruptive, flawed people, answered my question. Nancy likes me and I’m convinced that God does. I must be likeable! This reality has given me life, life worth living. Yes, even me! I shed joyful tears when I considered the significance of those words. It transformed how I saw others and life in general. Knowing the One we follow, the Son of God who is close to the Father’s heart, our Teacher, not only loves us but likes us changes everything!
Ken and Nancy Williams served for some 25 years in pastoral ministry, and then almost another 20 years serving and mentoring other pastors. With the heart of a pastor Ken continues to write and blog from upstate New York where he and Nancy live close to their grandchildren.