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 | By Alison Blanchet

Survival of the Seeds: Teachers’ Perseverance Produces Good Fruit

When I moved to Panama City and began working as a youth minister, my goal was survival. Volunteers needed to be recruited, candidates for confirmation needed preparation. I hoped that with intentional formation, I could accomplish this and encourage the confirmandi to continue practicing their faith as high school students.

In those days I wasn’t thinking much past how many pizzas I needed to order for the evening. Those in ninth grade felt like they’d be freshmen forever and at the time, I felt that way, too. June and the end of the school year might as well have been the year 2050. Conversations with these students were about how to navigate homecoming next week. The future felt far away. 

Then, a year passed and the freshmen who had seemed so young were driving themselves to church and studying for the SATs. A few years later I watched them graduate, marveling that the kids I’d always think of as 14 were now old enough to vote.

It’s been over 10 years since I met those 14-year-old freshmen. The other adults and I who took them to summer camp and led their retreats got together to compare notes this fall after our own children began school. We realized that four of our former students have taught our toddlers in preschool! Several more have taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school and led retreats for our children in middle school. One youth ministry alum is teaching eighth grade social studies.

It seems like only yesterday we were watching these kids try to sneak their cell phones during chapel or worrying that they knew all the words to High School Musical but couldn’t remember “And with your Spirit.” Yet now they are adults, teaching our children the Sign of the Cross and how important prayer, the sacraments and service to others are.

There was a time when I felt a fruitful evening with these kiddos meant they didn’t throw paper airplanes at each other during Bible study. Ten years later, they are an abundant blessing to our community and are helping form my children into life-long disciples of Christ. 

In Luke 8:4, Christ preaches the parable of the sower planting seeds. Some were eaten by birds, some withered away, some were destroyed. However, some took root and “produced fruit a hundredfold.” Jesus explains that “… they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance” (Lk 8:15). 

For parents, teachers, coaches, ministry leaders and anyone who has spent any time trying to lead and inspire the younger generation, perseverance can feel like a never-ending marathon. It can seem like kids will always need their hands held and their actions supervised. Then, suddenly, the children we worried about, prayed for and watched from afar grow up. 

When I stood in front of my first group of teens so many years ago, I nervously hoped to survive the evening. I hoped that the students would leave knowing that they were loved by God, who had a plan for each of them. Over a decade later, I’m amazed how God is using these young adults to share his word with my own little ones. It is fruitfulness “a hundredfold” that exceeded anything I imagined in their teenage years.

Alison Blanchet lives in Panama City with her husband and three children. She works as a therapist for children and teens. Email her at