I teach the third graders the way I’ve been learning to teach.
“There was once a man who did such wonderful things and said such amazing things, that people just had to follow him,” I say. I sit on my knees and lean over a golden cardboard box. We’ve been talking about the parable inside.
“He spoke to the people about a kingdom. But it was not like any kingdom they’d ever lived in. It wasn’t like any kingdom they’d ever even heard of.
“One time he said to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a person…'” I take a little wooden man and place it at the bottom of the piece of cloth in front of me. “…who took the tiniest of seeds, a seed so small you can barely see it.” I reach into the box and press my pointer finger to the mustard seed and lean over toward the kids, letting them stare at the tiny golden dot.
“And he planted it in the ground.”
I set the seed on the cloth beside the little wooden man.
Once, in middle school, I bought a cheap golden locket from one of those accessory stores at the mall. I brought it home, unsure of what to put inside it. I had no boyfriend and I was thirteen so the idea of sticking a family photo into it was ridiculous. Then, I decided, I’d find a mustard seed in the pantry! I’d make it a faith necklace!
Of course, those mustard seeds were small. So I needed at least six to make it worth it. But this is not a story about six mustard seeds, is it?