Each week I diligently prepare my Sunday school lesson for the fourth and fifth graders in my class. Thus making it possible for them to take the lesson and incorporate it into their lives or to ask clarifying questions. I am always on the hunt for new music, great visuals and fun ways for them to learn about Jesus and understand God’s Word better.
However, after taking some time last night to reflect on a conversation that I had earlier in the evening, I have come to realize that there are two important “tools” that I must have with me each Sunday when I am teaching. These are the kind of “tools” that you don’t dare leave home without! What are these two important “tools”?
- Availability– to be available to the kids before, during and after class to really hear what is on their minds and hearts. Really available…not preparing for class or cleaning up afterwards. Just being there, making yourself available and open to the kids so they can share about the great things that have happened to them during the week or for the child that wants/needs to talk about a tough situation that they are struggling with. You may be the one person who makes a difference in their life…the foster child who has been in lots of different homes, the child who doesn’t have any friends or the child of divorced parents who are fighting over the kids, etc. YOU make the difference by being there and available!
- Safety-The kind of safety that allows a child to be emotionally and/or intellectually vulnerable without fear of being made fun of or being treated in a dismissive fashion. In my experience this allows the kids to learn in a more meaningful way and will be more willing share more amongst themselves. In school kids experience judgement from their peers for their grades or lack of, their clothes, their physical looks,economic status, behavior and whether they belong into the “coolest” group of friends, which inhibits the vulnerability of truely sharing in front one another. Your Sunday school class can provide that sanctuary for the children that you teach each week.
As you pack all your supplies and lesson plan for this Sunday, don’t forget to pack your “tools” of availability and safety into your bags. Don’t leave home without them!