“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” ~Titus 2:2
Your school’s Administration, Teachers, Coaches, and Staff are to maintain certain qualities. As mentioned in a previous post, Teachers are to be true biblical Christians. In addition to that, this portion of the passage has specific qualities that I am sure God wants teachers to have. We will look at each one individually (this post is the second on verse 2):
- sound in love
This one is huge! Pay attention to this quality of teachers, it is important, and takes a lot of effort. Do your Christian school or home school teachers love to teach? Do they love the subject they teach? Here is a tough one: do they love their students? Here is an even tougher one: do their students love them? I am reminded of the line from a song from several years ago that says: “they will know we are Christians by our love”; can that be said about your schools teachers? Can it be said about you?
Here is a saying that I really like, because I have found it to be so, so true: “Your students won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Take that to heart. It takes effort to show love in the classroom, and it takes EXTRA effort to show the same love to every student without partiality. Paul started out the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13 by saying that without love, a person could be like sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. (Just a bunch of noise). And then in the next sentence, Paul said even though he may have lot of gifts such as understanding, knowledge, and faith, without love, he was nothing. Then, he said next that even with all his good deeds and sacrifices he made, they were worthless without love. So from that, I could stand on fairly firm ground saying that a teacher without love is nothing but a worthless bunch of noise.
The Bible commands us to love. In John 15:2, Jesus commands us to love one another. And in Matthew 22, a Lawyer asked Jesus about the greatest commandment and Jesus’ answer to him (and us) was to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and then He quickly added that the second is like it, that you should love your neighbor as yourself. Teachers should model this love. Going back to Paul’s love chapter where he mentions the elements that make up love. I am sure you know them, but they need to ALL be part of teacher’s love: Love is patient, kind and caring, not envious, not prideful or boastful, is not rude, not selfish, not provoked, does not seek revenge; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. Teachers, please work on genuinely having all of those.
A sound Christian school will obey the commands of the Bible to love, and be characterized by all elements of love from 1 Corinthians 13.
During the annual graduation ceremony at our Christian school, nearly every graduating senior that has an opportunity to speak at the podium, mentions the very same thing: they thank a specific teacher. That particular teacher has made a positive impact on each student, and they say things like: “I want to thank “Mr. G” for helping me get through these last few years”, “Thank you Mr. G for your help and guidance”, “I want to thank Mr. G for just listening to me”, “Mr. G, without you, I don’t know how I would have made it.” “Mr. G., you are a blessing to this school, and to me.”
So… does your school have a “Mr. G”? Do you have more than one? If you are a teacher, are you that type of person to your students? The teenage years are rough for students, and getting rougher as the character and morality of our society dwindles, even in a Christian school, so are you helping them through it with biblical based guidance? Are you someone they can come to in complete confidence and trust? Parents may be doing everything right in raising their teens, but a school still needs at least one “Mr. G”. He loves the students and they know it. Mr. G. is a real person, and a real honor to Jesus whom he loves and serves in his job. He does not assess his effectiveness as a teacher or his love for students by whether they love him back or mention his name at graduation, but by his obedience to the Word of God.
A sound Christian school will have a “Mr. G.” that students can confide in for biblical based guidance, support, or to just listen to them in confidence. “Mr. G” is effective because he honors and models the Word of God.
One additional thought I would like to mention here is about teens again. One of the difficulties in being a teen is acceptance. Teens are going through the period in their life where they want to be independent, and their own person, and to be accepted as a valued person. Teachers can tend to not recognize this, and fail to convey to the teen they have value. If you are a teacher of teens, please make an “from the heart” effort to make each teen feel valued. Also, teens hear a lot of rules, and get disciplined and corrected for breaking those rules, as they should. However, this should be done in a way that still lets them know they are important and have value, and is not demeaning to them, and they need reassurance that their value as a person is not diminished. One suggestion on how to do this, is to explain what the rule was that they broke, and why the rule exists, why disciplinary action needs to occur, how the discipline will help them not break the rule again, and then after the discipline, reassure them that you have forgotten the offense, iterate your acceptance of them, and your confidence in them. Oh, and if appropriate, give them a hug.
A sound Christian school will instill value in their students, even during discipline.
Copyright 2012 Kevin Brownlee