Ever watch a bunch of young boys try to “out tough” each other? It’s a wonder any boys make it to adulthood!. These sessions designed to prove one has no weaknesses, have probably resulted in the creation of more than one extreme sport and quite a few body parts in casts.
There is something in all of us, that wants to put on a brave front. Maybe it is because we fear showing our weaknesses will turn us into the laughing stock of our neighborhoods and workplaces. Perhaps there is a little bit of pride and ego in the mix. Maybe we have been taught by society that only the strong survive, and fear exhibiting weakness will place us at the bottom of the pecking order.
Unfortunately, God expects us to show our weaknesses. Whether it is sin in our lives or just fear, we need to be able to share them with God. Our children need to see us admit our sins and ask for forgiveness. Society may mock weakness, but God values our honest appraisal of our need for Him.
Parents of preschool children and preschool teachers are prepared for children who get the wiggles. For a wide variety of reasons, there are now also many older children and teens who have trouble sitting still in class. Whether it’s from lack of self control, a physical condition or their preferred learning style, adding movement and touch to your class or your home Bible studies will help these children learn better.
Unfortunately, in many cases the movement provided as suggestions in curriculum is shallow and doesn’t add much meaning to the subject. Allowing children to run around a room for fifteen minutes popping balloons and then saying “This is how Jesus pops our sin”, isn’t really teaching these active children anything.
Our daughter is an auditory learner. She really does need to hear something to understand it better. She prefers having a teacher verbally tell her about a subject rather than trying to understand it by reading alone. It doesn’t mean she has poor reading comprehension, but just like a visual learner needs to see something to really understand it well, an auditory learner needs to hear it.
Fortunately for auditory learners, most Bible classes are set up just for them. Much of what is done involves listening to the teacher. If you teach a class, work on your story telling skills. For younger children, make sure you use different voices when different people speak. Even if you are reading the story exactly as written from the Bible, add the appropriate emotions to your voice. You don’t want to go overboard, but anything that adds depth and meaning to the auditory message being given is helpful.
We are not quite sure how it happened, but in our house, two visual learners gave birth to an auditory learner. Since we homeschool, I had to change my teaching from my preferred learning style to the one best suited for my daughter. Even the way she studies most effectively is very different from what worked for me.
Shift to most Sunday morning children’s and teen classes and the mode is almost entirely auditory. An adult tells the story and perhaps asks questions or makes an application. An activity is provided which may or may not actually be what an educator would call “hands-on” learning. Once in awhile, the teacher may pull out some old flannel graph or the unit might come with a poster or coloring page.
If your child is a visual learner, they probably reacted the way I did to Sunday School. “What did the Tabernacle actually look like? I can’t tell from the way you are describing it.” “Where is Assyria? I don’t remember seeing that on a map before.” I couldn’t picture a lot of the things I was reading about, because there was nothing in my town or my culture I could compare to it. Since I couldn’t visualize many things, a lot of what I read and heard did not have as much meaning for me as it could have had.
Parenting trends tend to be giant pendulum swings. If some parents have criticized their children too much, then we should do nothing but praise our children. If praising our children constantly has produced children who are entitled, then we need to be critical parents. Studies have shown, even individuals are prone to the pendulum swing. If you believe your parents were too strict about giving you money, chances are you will be too lenient giving money to your children. Our gut reaction is to do the exact opposite of what has not worked in the past.
Unfortunately, often the best parenting techniques are somewhere between the extremes. The good news for Christian parents is that the Bible gives us guidance to help us find those balanced places. Taking the latest trends in parenting and comparing them to godly principles will help you find that godly balance in your parenting.