Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Way Children Learn

I’ve spent the last few weeks in Austria serving at Haus Edelweiss, the facility of TCMI Institute,, a graduate level bible training center, sponsored by TCM International. My job as a short term ministry worker was to serve the students by working in the kitchen, serving meals and praying for the students.

On the first evening, I sat beside J., a student from Poland. We were talking about children’s ministries and what kind of programs he knew of in the churches.. Then he dropped a comment into the conversation that seemingly was off topic, yet it caught my attention with its profoundness: “Children must learn by our example as well as by our teaching.”

Several times, during our stay, we were told, “The students are watching you. They see you serving and they are amazed that you would come so far to serve them.” The unspoken message was, “Watch then how you live.” I quickly realized this message was true for any person, teacher and helper alike, who works with students. The way we live our lives is as much a teaching session as the content between the cover pages of our curriculum guides.

The children you teach are watching you. They watch how you live. They see you during the week. They see how you interact with other adults. They see how you are modeling your faith. They hear every bad word, every bit of gossip you speak. It’s not likely that they will remember a specific bible lesson you teach; but they will remember the kindness you showed to them, how you served them, the hug you gave them when they were having a bad day.

Your children will indeed learn as much if not more from your example as from your teaching. Thanks, J., for reminding me to watch my walk this week so the children Inside My Classroom will listen more closely to my talk.

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