Teaching is not an easy task. I read James 3:1 and am reminded, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” My role is of great responsibility; my interaction with students on any given school day will leave its spiritual impression on them.
The first part of the Love Mandate states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” I find it important to have the children recognize the gifts God has given their classmates. In my classroom, each student will have a turn to be in the spotlight. One of our activities for the special person involves making a book that acknowledges that person’s gifts. In prayer with the children, I frequently praise God for the uniqueness with which he has created each individual. We also bring adoration to God with our science studies. We study astronomy, the planet Earth, rocks, minerals, weather, water and plants. With excitement and awe over God’s amazing creation, we marvel at his wisdom and foresight.
I praise the children for specific examples I see of them loving “your neighbor as yourself,” pointing out the Biblical teachings that they exemplify. Naturally, third and fourth grade interactions will at times necessitate reminders of the mandate as well. Frequently, literature we read also lends itself to discussion of this mandate and other related Biblical lessons. Characters’ treatment of others, among other themes, lead to discussion of God’s commands regarding our interaction with our neighbors.
In my role, the Mission Mandate is twofold. For children who are in the early stages of their faith walk and of their Biblical knowledge, I aim to build their knowledge of God’s promises and commands, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” My goal is for them to know him better as their Lord and Savior. Students who are strong in their relationship with God and in their understanding of God’s word are leaders for their classmates. The stories they share of interactions with others outside of school can serve as strong examples.
From the start of our year in social studies, our eyes are especially opened to issues relating to the Image Mandate. We study Michigan History and US History. We are able to see how the Native Americans use of creation varied greatly from that of the settlers. We are readily reminded of this mandate as we study wars, population growth, the use of natural resources in our state, and more.
Knowing the immense responsibility set before me, it is my prayer that God gives me the words and actions needed to guide students in His direction.