The Good Student

reflection by Gabby Ladd

This summer, I had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in India to experience the culture, the environment, the people, and the history while immersed in it. There were definitely a lot of challenging moments for me physically and spiritually. There was one moment though that I would like to highlight. I observed something that caused me consider, "How eager of a student am I? How much do I want to learn the Word?“ Which, as a third-year and full-time student, are very challenging questions.

While I was there, I was able to spend some time at a boy's hostel just down the road from where I was staying. Most if not all of the boys are orphans, and they stay at the hostel year-round, ranging  from 7-12 years old. I got to spend an hour a day with them for two weeks with Deepak, one of our staff members in India. He spent the first 30 minutes teaching them a lesson in Hindi, then I would lead an educational game for the last 30 minutes.

One morning during Deepak’s lesson, I decided to stand to the side and watch rather than sit with the students. I looked around from the back of the room and saw different types of students: some were listening and coloring, some were at least looking at Deepak, some were trying to chase the dog away, etc. In that moment, the amount of boys not listening was much greater than the amount of boys that were. But there was one boy in particular who caught my eye in the front of the room. He was about 10 or 11, and he was so engaged and interested in the lesson Deepak was giving, to the degree that he was half-standing and leaning over his table. His eyes and his mouth were wide open. He would immediately answer every question Deepak asked, getting it wrong most of the time. But his persistence was inspiring.  

The classroom made me envision a crowd being taught by Jesus. Some people were totally engaged, some were listening but multitasking, some were totally disinterested, and some were sitting quietly to the side soaking everything in. Then I considered my classroom experience.  While I do not have Jesus to listen from directly, I do have people who are willing to take time and energy to teach me about his word and the things that will empower me to be a competent person.

Am I that eager that I lean forward in my seat, eyes wide open and focused? I want to be that kind of student.
 Serving at the boy's hostel was the highlight of my summer. I loved being able to invest into them in the same way that I have been invested into!

Serving at the boy's hostel was the highlight of my summer. I loved being able to invest into them in the same way that I have been invested into!

Am I that eager that I lean forward in my seat, eyes wide open and focused? Am I that eager to answer every question even though I might be wrong? Because that’s what this boy did. He didn't care that he was wrong or that he was singled out or that he was about to fall out of his chair. He wanted to learn and understand.

I want to be that kind of student. I want to be so engaged that I am willing to be wrong. My desire to learn the Word needs to be so strong that it reflects in how I present myself in the classroom. Right now, fear and past experiences are holding me back, keeping me from being that kind of student. My goal now is to be an eager student, one who recognizes the necessity of the material being presented to me and has the desire to KNOW the material. To be willing to put myself out there and be wrong, receive correction and be grateful for it, not fearful of it. In order to learn, I have to be corrected and disciplined, and I can’t be corrected if I am never wrong. This boy was just being the good student he needed to be, and he unknowingly inspired and challenged me to be that eager student Jesus wants me to be.