Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Faithful Instruction: Patterns and Routines

Classroom teachers have been busy working in classrooms in the last weeks to setup a daily rhythm of school life and learning in their rooms. I often watch our students arrive and greet them in the halls and marvel at how quickly they fall in to routines and patterns specific to their grade.

Many years ago my then two year old nephew, youngest of four in his family, was keen to follow the pattern on his older siblings in reciting a prayer spoken before a family meal:

“God is good, God is great
Let us thank Him for our food.
By his hands, we are fed,
Thank-you Lord, for daily bread. Amen”

Unable to say or understand the words spoken by his siblings, his exuberant version was:

"God is great, God is great!
God is great, God is great!
God is great, God is great!
God is great, God is great! Amen!"

In his mind, he was participating just as equally as his siblings. Perhaps his rhythmically perfect version contained as much meaning and purpose as his siblings well-practiced versions. The repeated prayer became like were well-worn grooves in their minds and hearts, reminding them of the gift of food by God’s provision.

So, how do you instruct children to live faithfully? Reading Old Testament stories at home after supper recently and devoting with school staff over the Psalms (Psalm 78 this morning) make me reflect on this question frequently. It strikes me that one of the loudest “voices” in cultivating faithfulness in young children are structures that gently, but deliberately guide them to recognize that God made them, God loves them, and God knows them “by name.” (Isa. 43:1) What a rich blessing that those “patterns of faithfulness” in even the smallest of things can start at home and continue here at LCES.

Praise God for Christian education; may it bear fruit in the lives of our children! SJ

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