I recently started teaching a Sunday school class at my church. Each week I get to teach ten to thirteen precious 4&5 year olds who are very well behaved. (At least, they are well behaved so far.) I have only been teaching for a few weeks, and I know that the novelty of having a new teacher will wear off any week now, and soon my little students will tire of trying to please me, making my task much harder.
My novelty is beginning to wear off already, but fear not! I have a plan. : ) I have endeavored to run a very tight ship while I have willing spirits to work with, and have tried not to let even small discipline issues go unaddressed. Once children (and adults, for that matter) know what is expected of them, it is much easier to discern whether a matter is an issue is one of rebellion or ignorance.
The hardest principle for these little ones, however, is a relatively simple one: immediate obedience. This is a very hard, but crucial principle for anyone to learn. As one preacher put it, “Temporary disobedience is total disobedience.” In other words, to delay is to disobey. If my students won’t respond the first time they are told to do something, my classroom will be a scene of chaos. Thankfully, of all the students, only a few have had to be told anything twice, but it is with increasing frequency.
In re-analyzing the students and my teaching methods, it occurred to me that this is an area that is difficult for me, as well. It’s not so much that I don’t do what I am told, but it is a struggle sometimes to obey immediately when I am asked or when it is implied that I should do something. I am asked to do things at my house more than I am than told to do things, so this is a bigger struggle than you might think. Technically, I could use the excuse that, having been asked, rather than told, I have a choice whether or not to obey and when, but since I know that when my parents say “would you”, they really mean “do it”, I have no excuse. -I know better.
Perhaps the Lord put me in charge of this particular class so that I would be reminded of my need to keep striving in this area!