In the last 25 years of my professional journey, I ‘ve experienced incivility, macroaggression, and countless hardships. Born in Sri Lanka, immigrating to Canada, and residing in the United States, God has faithfully granted the grace to face each transition. My coping mechanism has been to cry out to God and ask for his strength when it seemed impossible to go on. God is my hope and my anchor.
Even when I didn't understand why things happened as they did, I needed to keep my faith and remind myself of God's purpose. James 1:4 asserts. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (NIV). I’m thankful for the spiritual lessons that resulted from difficult experiences. After all, the twists and turns of life are what shape us. The educator I am today is a result of lived experiences. The same is true of our students.
As educators, though we do not know all the hardships our students face, we’re aware of specific stressors—nursing school is difficult, education is costly, and social media creates an unrealistic picture of life. Remembering our educational journey may assist us in empathizing and compassionately responding to struggling students.
Although students must pass exams and be competent in clinical settings, a gentle, encouraging word may motivate a student to persevere. Our words are powerful. May our speech be inspired by the Holy Spirit, full of grace and truth (John 1:14; Ephesians 4:15).
We can use the Bible’s analogy of an eagle to encourage our students.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”(Isaiah 40:31, NIV).
The EAGLE acronym also reminds us.
E--Equal in God's eyes. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV).
A--Acknowledge God in all you do. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6, NKJV).
G--Gain victory over adversity and rise above the storm like the eagle. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4, NKJV).
L--Live each day to the fullest. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:27, NKJV). “Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Each day has its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, NKJV).
E--Encourage yourself and others in the Lord. “Comfort each other and build up each other, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NKJV).
S--Self-Compassion. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, NLT).
These words have power to encourage, to build up, and to challenge. May we be the best version of ourselves as possible, living under and extending care for those God has entrusted to us.
Santhiny Rajamohan, PhD, RN, is an associate professor of nursing at Roberts Wesleyan College Department of Nursing who is passionate about the Christian perspective on personhood, person-centered care, and quality care of older adults. She uses her faith walk to encourage students to persevere.
This article first appeared in JCN’s Called to Teach column. If you’re an educator, consider submitting to this regular journal column.
Bonus: As a Christian nurse educator, you can take advantage of a 40% discount for all books and Bible studies from InterVarsity Press. Set up your professor account here or call 1-800-843-9487.
More benefits for educators are on the NCF website.
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