Heartprints

What Do You Really Believe?

Dealing With Difficult Classroom Situations

With words we say what we think we believe but our actions reveal what we really believe.

When our oldest was three and our youngest 10 months old we went to a Christar training conference. The children were separated by age. That evening we discovered our oldest suddenly had an imaginary friend. While playing, children often imagine their dolls or stuffed animals are interacting with them. Why is this need for community so fundamentally a part of us that even small children, when they feel alone, are compelled to imagine a friend? Could it be a homing device to bring us to God?

The number one thing every child needs to know and believe is, “God loves you and is always with you.”

Growing up is hard. A child’s body, world, and language are in a constant mode of change. They see change everywhere. Some, face harder changes like moving to a new house or a different country, changing schools or languages, a divorce, or even death.  Letting go of the lies that come with change while holding on to the truth God has given us are very important skills for traversing a world of change. Lies weigh down the heart with fears and doubts while truth brings confidence and courage to face the unknown.

Sometimes a child’s “heart pack” becomes so full of lies that a counselor is needed. What if we could teach them simple but profound truths that would dispel lies that come with change? What if they could start learning from birth that they have a real friend that loves them unconditionally and will never leave them?

The best teachers live what they teach. If we want to help them grow and change according to God’s plan, we must practice truth in front of them. Every lesson we teach should include the words, “God loves you and is always with you.” Every opportunity to show them we believe this is a gift from God. Children hear what we say but they see what we believe by how we act in front of them. 

Teachers love for class/life to run smoothly without interruptions or difficult conflicts. In all honesty, those are our most powerful teaching moments. How we react or respond will reveal what we really believe about God and about them. Stopping to pray is a powerful way to deal with glitches in our agendas. Practicing God’s presence will teach them that God is bigger than the problem.

Planning ahead to lovingly respond to questions or acting out will teach children that everyone is important to God, even ones labeled, “the bad kid.” Over time their actions will change and also how they view God, themselves and each other. Use your classroom to teach children to expect interruptions in life as God’s plan for us to practice what we believe.  This will plant deeply the truth that He is in control and will go far in preparing them for conflict in the future.

Suzi Ciliberti

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."