God’s Power Tools – #6

“Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” –Charles Dickens  

Our sixth power tool is body language. We all have it. We all use it. We all have sadly, through body language, expressed, so loudly our own anxiety or frustration that the children miss our words. “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson.

My teacher had a special way of teaching. She could communicate as much with her body language as she did with her words. I learned a lot about what is important from watching her. On April 8, 1968 Mrs. Fobes, who was also the principal of the school, left our classroom to answer her office phone.

As she returned, I looked up and our eyes met. Without a word I understood. Her eyes reached across the room and looked into my heart. Her kind sad gentle nod was all I needed.

I closed my book; I gathered up my things and I met her at the door. She held me quietly for a moment.  My mother had died that afternoon while I sat doing 6th grade math.   My teacher understood that to speak those words out loud would make it too real. Her willingness to not use words spoke volumes to me of her love and sympathy. Her kindness gave me courage to face the truth of what was waiting for me at home.

The Bible says, “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” John 13:35(The NET Bible) Teachers are many times so focused on what we want to say, controlling our classroom, or the next thing on our agenda that we miss  opportunities to communicate our personal concern and God’s unconditional love. Even in the middle of the class, the most disruptive child is especially in need of knowing they are valuable and loved.

Body language can express approval or disapproval. It can demean and distract from the lesson or help to emphasize the very truths you long to teach. Be careful to love the child you are bringing back to attention. Nothing will convince a child that even God can’t love them, more than a teacher expressing anger or disapproval toward them because of their behavior.

I like to stop the lesson and ask the child a question lovingly. I stoop for a small child; I smile and lean toward an older child. I widen my eyes as I whisper in a conspiratorial voice, just loud enough for all to hear, “And do you know what happened next?”

Learning to separate what a child does from who they are helps them understand that they can change; loving discipline will go far to communicate God’s love to the entire class. Never underestimate the power of your body language as you communicate the message of God’s love.

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."

One Comment

  • rogerbrennan

    Relationship with god

    Communication is the most efficient way to connect with god; from the very beginning we have found a strong relationship in between human and god. But here we have found a different approach that is body language; through the help of body language we are able to make people understood different things even not speak a single word. Human body is made of several elements and each and every element has some unique quality.