We all have “THAT” kid in our Sunday school or Bible class. You know, the one who giggles at everything. The one who hides under the table when you are trying to teach, or is just not quite like everyone else. Or the one who exhibits every type of attention-seeking behavior imaginable. These attributes can be frustrating to any Bible teacher, as they cause us stress and anxiety every time that kid walks in the door. However, after a deep breath, we need to remind ourselves of one thing… that kid is created in the image of God. He or she is infinitely valuable to our Lord. So how do you best love and serve this type of student?
Learn His Currency
Every kid has a currency, something they thrive off of. For some it is attention, for others its positive reinforcement, or approval. If your student is exhibiting attention seeking behavior, ignore it. However, ignoring negative behavior means you have to hype up the praise of positive behavior. Feed the attention towards the positive behavior and see if he doesn’t start to exhibit more of that.
Remember, “She didn’t wake up like this.”
By this I mean she didn’t just become this way in your class. She has a life story, a God story, full of joy, sorrow, family ups and downs, struggles and triumphs. Take some time to learn about your students, especially that kid. Maybe if you understand where she’s come from, you can prayerfully approach how to be a positive, spirit-filled adult in her life. Studies show that kids who have at least five adults in their religious life tend to stay in church as an adult. The fact is if your student is that kid, she probably doesn’t have those 5 adults, so be one, and encourage others to do the same.
Embrace His Character
All of it. Actions that drive us crazy are also part of what make him an amazing child of God. Remember that your boy who makes everyone laugh during the lesson brings joy into the lives of others, albeit maybe not at the most appropriate of times. I once had a sophomore boy who would keep asking if he could tell Bible jokes in the middle of my lesson, so we decided that if we could get through our lesson without interruption, he could have five minutes at the end of the Sunday School time to tell Bible jokes. It even spurred the other students to look up jokes and bring them to class, which took an annoying trait and turned it into a great time of fellowship and community.
Help Her Find Her Place
We all have a place within the body of Christ. Your girl who only talks about anime, and draws all over her material, might be able to create an amazing mural in your local senior center, or church nursery. If she never takes her earbuds out, introduce her to the choir director. For some kids it takes a while to find a vital place within the body of Christ, and part of our job as Bible teachers is to help them find that place, even when it might be hard for us to see.
At some point in our lives, we were “that” kid. Left out, ostracized, feeling as if we didn’t belong, but somewhere in our lives someone decided we were worthwhile, that we had a place within the body of Christ. So when faced with that kid, take a deep breath, ask God for patience, and be prepared to use it because you never know when God is using you to speak love into the life
of… that kid!
You can see a list of all of Sara’s blog posts here.