Bible Class 101
In a recent WOMAN’S DAY magazine there appeared an article titled “Back to School 101,” in which the author, Steven Miller, listed a number of tips for helping children have a successful school year. Recognizing that we can sometimes learn practical tips for spiritual growth from the wisdom of “the sons of this age” (Luke 16:8), let me take some of his points (with some modifications) and apply them to our Bible classes. How can we motivate our children to be better Bible students?
1. Get your family to bed on Saturday night at a decent hour, and feed them a good breakfast on Sunday morning. It is a proven fact that kids (and adults) who are well rested are more mentally alert. Plus, “early to bed” means an easier “early to rise,” which means a more relaxed atmosphere in the home on Sunday morning and an easier time getting to class on schedule (which seems to be THE 90’s problem). And remember that hungry kids have a problem focusing on much of anything besides their hunger.
2. Get acquainted with their teachers, tell them about any special areas of concern you have and ask them if there is anything you can do to aid your children in learning. The secular world has come to see the importance of parents working with teachers in the instruction of their children. Can we remain so naive as to believe that our children’s spiritual instruction can be adequately accomplished without parents and teachers working together?
3. Don’t criticize the Bible class teacher or the church in front of your children. In the WOMAN’S DAY article a middle school principle was quoted: “How do parents expect us to teach any regard for school or academics if parents are critical of their teachers?” The same is true for Bible class teachers and the church. Disparaging remarks destroy credibility.
4. Don’t try to block discipline. The wise man said that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Sometimes that foolishness escapes the heart and makes a beeline for the mouth, feet and hands. As parents we need to take seriously any reports that our children are acting up and disrupting the Bible class. Support our teachers when discipline is necessary.
5. Talk to your children about Bible class. Show your children that you are interested in what they are learning, that their spiritual education is important to you. Ask them questions about what they learned in class. Build on the teachers instruction. Talk about how what they learned might apply to specific situations in their life that the teacher might not know about.
6. Insist that your children do their Bible class lessons. Would you tolerate your child not completing their school homework? (Research tells us that 98% of children who succeed in school do homework.) Then why on earth would you ever tolerate your child not completing their Bible class lesson?
7. Let your child see you reading the Bible. In the magazine article an English teacher is quoted on the subject of motivating children to read: “Kids need to see at home that reading’s important. If they see that reading is something their parents enjoy and talk about, then kids may get interested in a story they’re reading at school.” I wonder sometimes if the reason some parents don’t evidence more concern about their children’s lack of interest in Bible study is because the parents aren’t very interested in Bible study themselves. Don’t just tell them that Bible knowledge is important, show them!
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