What’s the right approach?
This is part 2 of my series A Lesson from an Israelite: What’s the right approach? Last week’s post The Bringer of Peace was centered around a topic so broad, I hope it could hit home for anyone. This week I want to share some of what I’ve been learning recently and how it can tie into your teaching and/or parenting.
My husband and I started reading the Bible in a year last November, and we just finished Deuteronomy (and when I say we just finished it, I actually mean we just finished Joshua and are halfway through Judges today…it goes super fast!) Since the previous four books have been all about God’s deliverance of the Israelites, I’ve gotten a healthy dose of the laws and regulations God gave to His people.
Since the fall of man in Genesis, God always had a plan to make a way for His people to have fellowship with Him again. The sacrificial system He ordained was intense and strict, but necessary for the Israelites to be able to draw near to Him. And there was serious punishment for those who did not follow these rules.
The greatest lesson I learned as I read through those books was that our relationship with God is the absolutely most important part of our lives. Despite how the rest of the world lives, it is vital that God is our number one! And even though God is serious about the way we live our lives, He also wants us to live a life of complete joy (there were some extensive feasts and parties they were having – life was fun!!) But that’s only possible through Him.
Back to the serious stuff…we are to reverently approach our Holy God, just as the Israelites had many steps to take before the priest could approach God correctly. The AMAZING part of this story…there are no more barriers for us to break through, no steps and methods to follow, no special people or rituals to go through first. Thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection, our belief in Him alone saves us and gives us FULL access to God at any and all times!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”Hebrews 4:16
Boldly we can come, bringing our baggage, frustrations, sorrows, and gratefulness! Yet, always with an attitude of respect and honor toward a God who is holy and perfect. Just as we teach kids that their behaviors should be honoring to others, we need to make sure our hearts reflect that in our approach to God.
How do we teach kids this…
Simple, every day life can be used to teach kids (and don’t let us exclude ourselves) many lessons, especially spiritual ones. God often uses what is right in front of us to reveal new things to us. For example, when Moses wasn’t so confident that he could conquer the task of delivering all of Israel from Egypt’s grasp, God demonstrated His power through something as simple as what was in Moses’ hand – a staff. God showed him how mighty He was to save by turning the staff into a snake.
Kids need that instruction from us! We can use the things around us to teach them about the Lord all day long!
- We respect and honor our teacher by sitting and listening to what he/she says, just as we would respect and honor our Father in heaven.
- We are grateful to God when He provides for us, just as we’re grateful for someone sharing a pencil with us.
- We give a crayon to someone in need just as Jesus taught us to do – when we’re serving a brother or sister in need, we’re serving Him!
The comparisons are endless.
I realize most of you reading this probably work in a public school where you can’t legally teach the gospel. I struggled with that – God was the only true reason I treated people well and did what was right. Without that at the core, it’s just superficial manners (doing it to look good, because it earns favor). However, I was able to rest in the fact that when I had a heart that honored and respected God, that would overflow from me. And I hoped it would be transparent to the kids I taught.
The social stories I’ve written provide you with a super simple approach to teaching social skills. I include interactive images in each book – meaning, removable pictures to match what is on the page. These pictures are the key points for the student to focus on. As the student moves the pictures to match it to the page, it creates an easy segue into dialogue about the specific topic. In other words, there’s very little thinking to do on your part – it’s very apparent what you should say as you teach. LESS PREP TIME FOR YOU – WOOHOO!
Manners are important, obviously I feel that way because I wrote this story. However, I also have a healthy realization that as an adult I don’t say please and thank you every. single. time. And my husband doesn’t wait for the perfect phrase before he passes the potatoes to me…do you get what I mean? There’s grace – a TON of grace from God to us – but also let there be grace among you and your students!
Especially since your students may just need to be trained to use appropriate phrases/actions, but may not have the empathy or understanding to accompany it yet due to their social deficit. Don’t stress over it. Just use this as a starting point and let your students grow as they can.
This week may you be filled with God’s grace to allow an attitude of love to overflow and affect the lives of your students for the Kingdom today. You’ve got this!
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