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Understanding your own story – through meaningful learning and time.

"1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus and said: Who then is the greatest in the kingdom[1] of heaven? 2 And when Jesus had called a child, he set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you will by no means enter the kingdom[2] of heaven. 4 Therefore, if anyone humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom[3] of heaven; 5 and if anyone receives one such child in my name, he receives me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall,[4] it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were sunk into the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:1 ff, rev. ed. 2006)

My dear friends and followers,

When I go to the playground of our small school as part of my job, the children who run up to me and hug me are generally the ones who are having a hard time at the moment. It is a friendly way of describing the domestic situation that many children bring with them. They fly into my arms. They hug me, smile at me, thank me for giving them strength through words or a short conversation for appointments that are too much for them.

They tell me about their games, their birthdays and also how terrible it is that they cannot go home on holidays. They tell me about their inner struggles and conflicts. But more often their smile is a smile of:

"Thank you for taking me seriously. Thank you for understanding that we really need a new football. Thank you for asking us for our opinion. Thank you for just being there."

They perceive me as a safe person.

Since I have been working in the elementary school's afternoon program, covering for teachers and spending two hours a day with the kids in the schoolyard, I have also been blessed by them. I am blessed by childhood memories, by having a certain basic sense of myself given back to me. Whether I see the child standing on the sidelines and feeling sad about being excluded today - I remember, I feel, and scenes that I had long forgotten return. I know how painful it is, I know how alone and unwanted you can feel when no one really wants to play with you. I remember.

But I also remember the joy, the feeling of being absorbed in the game and completely oblivious to the world around me. I remember the feeling that there is someone adult you can come to when you are overwhelmed because another child is punching, hitting or teasing you - or just to share something really fascinating, almost magical.

Time slows down during these hours.

Suddenly nothing is more important than being available, laughing together, finding solutions and - talking. In a work week like this, I see countless snail homes, fire beetle stations, deep, spooky tunnel systems in sandpits and I am happy with the children about the horses that border the school field. I am happy with them on snowy days that they can sled during the long breaks and the long supervision - and I am just as frustrated as they are when it rains and we can't be outside. I remember how important a hug is when your knee is bleeding or your head needs an ice pack because you are simply daydreaming and lost in your own world and suddenly crash into a tree without stopping.

My little flock.

I smile. Yes, they bless me, these often loud, exhausting rows. They remind me of the joy of movement, of the spirit of discovery and that life is not as complicated as we adults make it out to be. And also that we have often become incapable of seeing the small wonders and beauties through our overloaded, adult glasses.

But above all, I recognize one thing again:

Growth, learning: It takes time.

There are no shortcuts on the path to learning, no quick answers, and before you can really read the clock, you have to understand quite a lot: That an hour has 60 minutes. That a day has 24 hours. That the clock always shows 5-minute intervals - and that you have to know the 5s times table to count the minutes correctly. That it's actually illogical that "quarter to seven" has a six in front of it. And that you have to keep at it.

"But there are cell phones!" a boy who was completely unwilling to learn said to me recently: "Why am I supposed to learn all this stuff when I can just look at my cell phone?"

"There are calculators in mobile phones!" said another child recently when it came to learning how to do math properly.

I think we can all agree that a cell phone watch should not replace the basic ability to tell the time , and I hope we can all agree even more that arithmetic is a basic skill that we absolutely need to continue to have in our society.

"I don't read the Bible, there are enough people who interpret it for me" - is a sentence that I hear alarmingly often.

" There are offers of intercession . What should I pray for myself? I send them 50 euros so that they can pray for me and that's it."

" Bill Johnson said, Benny Hinn said, Joyce Meyer said, Shane Claiborne said, Allen Arnold said, my favorite podcast provider said, my pastor said... "

" And what do you think about it?

What exactly is he saying, what is he referring to, what is the context, and what is your own interpretation? Where did he get the quote from , and is it really what CSLewis said, have you looked at the context of this sentence?"

" Yeah, I don't know, I just think the sentence is productive! It's written there, he said that, so that's how it is!"

" Hm. Hm. Against what background? What did he say before? Does your interpretation correspond at all to his, and if not, what do you think about it?"

Most of the time, there is no answer at all at this point.

One of the biggest problems that schools, employers and universities complain about is that the ability to "read with comprehension" is lost, that only superficial knowledge is available that is not really internalized. Reading with comprehension enables you to follow an argument, to understand larger contexts and therefore to be able to reproduce content correctly.

Yes, a child who looks at his cell phone knows what time it is, but he has never really understood timekeeping. Yes, a child who is taught to mark sentences together can memorize them, but that doesn't mean he has understood the text.

If we approach God in this way, approach our own history, we will never truly understand it.

The Internet has led to a flattening of information , which has the same effect as reading the time on a mobile phone or getting the right answer on a calculator:

It is reproduced, but it is so abbreviated and so little is known about the authors that it may or may not be true.

In addition, in the Christian field, and particularly in the currently very popular "life coaching" field, more and more "experts" are emerging whose psychological competence is as high as that of someone who "just likes to play with small children" in social work. One year - and hey presto - you are now a qualified self-study pastor. One year - and hey presto - you are a narcissism expert.

A weekend seminar on childhood trauma - and now you know everything you need to know to speak into other lives.

Five reels: And hey presto, now you know how the demarcation works. And of course, with 120,000 clicks and more, it has to be right.

I've been having performance issues with my website for the past week. For some reason I still don't understand, a post view was counting three times.

Numbers tripled at a rate that is beyond me. The articles now seem much more read than they really are. More significant because so many people clicked on them.

The truth is: numbers and clicks don’t mean anything.

Not in the age of AI and bots that eagerly share posts without them ever being read. Follower numbers mean nothing. In the age of fake profiles and the lack of cleaning up of high follower numbers, out of 120,000 followers, perhaps only 10,000 are active. And of the 10,000, perhaps only 1,000 are recurring and 200 are really involved.

I believe that the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. But I also believe that it gives us, first and foremost, the ability to avoid. We avoid direct contact. We avoid direct prayer. We avoid the agony of slowness.

We avoid being confronted with God's word himself and take the memes that "do us good". We replace the long cooking time of noodle soup with instant yum yum noodles. We no longer know how to make salad dressing because we pour the ready-made one over the salad. We are lost in a world of frozen and ready-made products and wonder why we remain so empty and unfulfilled inside.

If you really want to walk with Jesus, it is a serious decision.

The Holy Spirit as a teacher will let you turn the hands of the clock and go through the multiplication table with you until you understand the clock. He will not allow you to find out the result from the calculator. And he will expect you to spend time with him . You will see him as a safe person, into whose arms you can run, with whom you can resolve conflicts, and who will offer his perspective instead of yours after he has thoroughly asked how you experience the situation. If you come to that conclusion yourself, he will let you continue playing as long as you do not torpedo his rules too much.

And another one:

Anyone who cannot climb a tree on their own has no business being there.

If you help a child up, you also have to help him down again, and that is harder than it seems. There are plenty of plasters, ointment and ice packs available.

But you have to go up there yourself. You have to accept what he teaches you. You have to apply what he shows you yourself.

And believe me: The Holy Spirit is a big fan of reading with comprehension, of dealing with what Jesus said, and he insists that when in doubt, your calculations are wrong. But he will explain it to you until you get it. With abundant patience, against all stubbornness, and at your side.

He doesn't offer you instant Yum Yum noodles.

Be blessed.

Sibylle/Daughter of Zion.


The Bible. Elberfelder Bible 2006, © 2006 SCM R.Brockhaus in the SCM Verlagsgruppe GmbH, Holzgerlingen ( ) With kind permission of SCM.


Song: The Bowery-Time and again

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