God’s Children

il_fullxfull.92308859[1]Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD our upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. (Psalms 34:11-16) Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them, and pray:  and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them, and departed thence. (Mark 19:13-15) Honor thy father and thy mother. (Excerpt of Luke 18:20)

You cannot teach a child you do not love. You cannot teach a child you do not respect. You cannot teach a child you do not understand. You cannot teach a child whom you are afraid of. You cannot teach a child without bonding first, which results from love, respect, and understanding. (Jawanza Kunjufu) This is something that came naturally to me, long before I read it in a book. (I give God the glory!) In my finite mind, I knew that in order to reach my students, before I could teach them, I had to bond with them. Each child had to feel special. They needed to feel important and loved. I had to show them I cared for them as individuals. Each child needed to have one on one instruction/attention, whenever possible. I had to learn to be a good listener, as well as to wear several hats. Sometimes I was a teacher, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a sociologist, a mother, a confidant, as well as a friend to my students. Each child comes into the classroom with unique qualities, needs, and backgrounds. I knew that if I wanted to be treated with respect, I had to treat my children with respect. I could not demand respect from my students. It had to be earned. If I had any hopes of my children succeeding in the classroom, the groundwork had to be laid, within the first few weeks of the school year. Classroom management was absolutely a major key to success. I knew how important it was to acknowledge the Lord in all of my ways, so that He would direct my path! Prayer may have been taken out of the schools, but it certainly did not prevent me from praying for my children, and praying for guidance from the Lord, to be the best teacher I could be. Could these concepts be the missing ingredients in our public schools today?

Not only did my students have to see me in the light mentioned above, but they needed to know that I was also a disciplinarian, who had high expectations for each child, to succeed behaviorally, as well as academically. However, this had to be done in a loving manner. On the first day of school, when I met my students at the lines, they began to realize the high expectations I had for them. Misconduct was not going to be tolerated, in any way. I instilled in my students, that they would be the best students they could possibly be, and perhaps in the entire school, in and out of the classroom. Parents were looked upon as partners in this process.

298990654_22b0393d50It is sad to see the violence, the chaos, the level of disrespect for parents, teachers and others school officials, as well as the high failure and dropout rate in public schools today. Too many students are graduating, who are not proficient in reading, writing, or math. The children who are in inner-city schools, are intelligent, as well as gifted, but ofttimes they lack motivation to do well in the classroom, in spite of their abilities to do so. It is heart-wrenching to see the videos on the news, of young ladies going to war, literally, inside and out of the school buildings. So, so sad. The children of this generation, have been tagged Generation X! Why is that? I do know that they are the future. We must embrace them, love them, guide them, and most of all, pray for them! Many of you may have children and grandchildren who are not quite children anymore, yet not quite old enough to handle their situations, without your intervention, whether they like it or not. I believe that it does take a village to raise a child! There are several adults in the lives of children, teenagers, and young adults, who are influential, yet not related. For example, there are teachers, coaches, neighbors, Sunday school teachers, Pastors, etc.: thus, the village.

When my brothers, sisters, and I were coming up, we were never asked if we were going to church on Sunday or during the week. If there was service, such as Bible Class or Prayer Meeting, on a week night, it was a given, that if our Parents were going to church, so were we. Nowadays, Parents ask their children if they are going to church or not, and in many cases, the children are likely to choose the latter! Somewhere the line has been blurred, as it pertains to the relationship between a parent and the child. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

The Bible also says in Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. What does this Scripture mean to you? Feel free to share your thoughts. God bless!

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14 comments on “God’s Children

  1. Paulette,

    Great post Paulette – truth from beginning to end. I especially appreciate your understanding of discipline, in that you earn the child’s respect first by meeting him or her on his or her own level, realizing that only then can you discipline effectively. Discipline is a two-way street and is founded on the principle of respect: I get respect by giving it. Aside from respect (on both sides) discipline is ineffective at best and turns punitive at worst.

    I recently posted this statement on my blog, “External discipline is necessary only when self-discipline is either non-existent or underdeveloped.”

    The societal woes within America are the direct result of America’s “Me, Me, Me at the expense of others” mindset. Discipline begins in the home – I do not mean using one’s child as a convenient whipping post (discipline is hard work, not an outlet for anger). Discipline is structure, structure provides freedom, and freedom safeguards our God-designed human rights. So how do we correct this “Me” problem? Let it begin with “Me”: self-discipline.

    • Hi Todd,

      Your comment is excellent! Effective discipline/classroom management is crucial in the world of pedagogy! It is the foundation of productive instruction in the classroom. Without it, even well thought out lesson plans and curriculums will not be presented in an effectual manner!

      Punishment or chastisement is usually associated with discipline. However, discipline is also synonymous with structure, orderliness, restraint, self-control or willpower, a regiment that develops or improve a skill, or training, etc. As you said, “discipline begins in the home”, at least, it should begin in the home. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. You are so right about the societal woes within America! In the home, when the rod is spared, thus the Me, Me, Me mindset manifests.

      When I found out what your latest post was about, my interest was peaked. I will be visiting your page soon. Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Paulette

      • Paulette,

        I am pleased that you and I see eye to eye on this issue. A child is a human being just like you and me. That child has a unique personality with unique potential unlike yours or mine. I wish parents would take the true meaning of Proverbs 22:6 to heart: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV)

        We adults immediately think, the way “I” should go, not the way “he” or “she” should go. There is a fundamental difference between the two. Children need discipline according to their unique personality, not ours. If a child is extremely tender and shy, don’t immediately pull out the belt upon disobedience; God doesn’t. Find a suitable alternative. Most children/people of this disposition aim to please, and for the absolute most part, physical punishment only breaks their spirit, not their will. Shame on parents that act first and think later, 30 years later: “If I knew then what I know now, I would do things different.” God gave us a mind, and with or without maturity we have the means to stop, think, search the scripture, seek God’s guidance, and truly reason, asking, “What is the best possible way to teach my child the way he/she should go.

        I am forty years old and I have had thirty-plus years to think about this. This is not an off-the-cuff soapbox speech. Too many a promising child is ruined by some parent that refuses to think and instead chooses to inflict physical pain as a first resort outlet for anger and frustration – the old “kick the cat syndrome”. I don’t know about you, Paulette, but the thought of this disgusts me to my very core. How do we get child rearing so wrong?

  2. As always, a great blog, but this one is close to my heart, having spent decades in childrens and youth ministry and presenting workshops on teaching and discipline – and sadly on ministering to the abused.

    Probably because of the abuse in my first 22 years, my heart cries for any form of verbal abuse against children, and it is so prevalent. One cannot even go shopping in a supermarket without hearing mothers verbally abusing their children. I want to grab hold of the mother and tell her in no uncertain terms what she is doing to her child – but mostly I just smile at the child and try to convey some sort of a boost.

    I fully agree with your thoughts on getting to know the child and gaining their respect – and on discipline: something which seems foreign to many parents today. There are many forms of discipline. I have found that children respond well to positive discipline – and they have more fun in a disciplined situation.

    • Hello Angela,

      Thank you so much. It is truly sad, when parents openly ridicule their children, and have absolutely no idea that what they are doing, is verbally abusing their child/children! That is one of my pet peeves, as well! Also, you are absolutely correct about children having more fun in a disciplined situation! I definitely found that to be true in my classrooms! Not only do they have more fun, but I believe they feel safe in this type of environment.

      Years ago, when I was still teaching, I would also mentor student teachers, from various Colleges/Universities. One year, a Professor removed her student teacher from my classroom, and she placed her in a different classroom. She explained to her student teacher, that my classroom was not the “real world”. She went on to explain that in the real world, students throw chairs, they fight, etc. Naturally, I was a bit flabbergasted! Apparently, my students were too well behaved, and they as well as I, were bad examples for the student teacher! I thought it would have been a good thing for a student teacher to see, that in an environment where students are respected, they in turn will render respect, and succeed behaviorally, as well as academically! The children were actually learning a lot, and having fun during the process! I must admit, that on most days, I had just as much fun as my students did! 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing! God bless!

      Paulette

      • I have met your Professor-types too. I train people for leadership in childrens and youth ministry, and although I don’t like to admit it, I found a few Churches/Church leaders who thought children had to “express themselves” and that bad behaviour was expected! (Just quietly, I also found that those “leaders” were themselves undisciplined)

        Thankfully, most leaders SAW the benefits of a disciplined club, saw the eagerness and enjoyment of the clubbers and approved the increase in their learning. And the children? They started bringing the trouble makers into line themselves, because THEY recognised the benefits – made the leaders’ job much easier!

  3. Hi Paulette,

    In all this, I think of how God calls us His children, no matter how old we are…. Whatever our physical age, we have spiritual growing to do…. Because we are so prone to sin, our heavenly Father lovingly and constantly stays by our side, loving, disciplining, guiding, and in all sorts of ways teaching us the way we should go…. Often, the lessons we seemed to have learned in one situation need to be repeated, so that we may be strengthened in that area.

    As in every classroom, some are eager learners and others are not, for any number of reasons…. And yet, God tends to each and every one personally to set before them the lessons they need to learn…. In spite of God’s sincere love and faithful discipline and guidance, there still are those who refuse to accept His ways…. They may be kept in check out of fear of punishment, but their hearts are rebellious.

    Our educational system in schools like the one you were in, leaves a lot to be desired…. That is more than sad…. It seems to show a sickness that is devastating to our schools…. There is no more common sense.

    Love,
    Margaret

    • Hello Margaret,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s quite true, that we are all God’s children, regardless of age. I’m so glad that He not only walks with me, but He dwells within me, and He leads and guides me! As a parent or teacher must deal with each child on an individual basis, our loving God also deals with us in this way. He knows what you are in need of, as well as what I am in need of, and He never gets His children confused. May the Lord continue to bless you.

      God’s child,

      Paulette

  4. Thanks, Paulette

    If we could get it right with the children it will make all the difference in the world.

    Your post is so meaty. 🙂 I was taken back to my childhood as I read. I would have liked to have you as a mentor / teacher. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    God bless you.
    ann

    • Hello Ann,

      Thank you for your comment. Reading it, brought a smile to my face. The world would truly be a better place, if we could get it right with the children. It starts with Proverbs 22:6.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. May God continue to shower down blessings upon you!

      Paulette

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