Teaching life lessons

By Pastor David Bowen, Standing Stones Community Church, Standing Stones Christian Academy

Author William Arthur Ward once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

The greatest teaching and learning experiences come from being in a family. Families help us learn valuable lessons about life. God creates each of us with the desire to love and to be loved. He gave us the capabilities to grow in giving and receiving love by placing us in families. It doesn’t matter the size of the family, but what does matter is how we learn to communicate and socialize and value others. The ability to do so is either nurtured or abandoned while growing up in the family unit. Being more loving and less judgmental and being open to receiving love are all traits we learn in the family setting.

How the dynamic of the family unit is developed and nurtured changes from family to family, yet there are still some common elements that help us go from talking to doing to actually inspiring others to be the best they can be.

Some practical and simple steps in developing healthy life lessons are making time to play, speaking words of encouragement and developing a habit of finishing what you start. These are samples of the dynamic we teach or ignore in the family unit.

How would you answer the question, do I make enough time to play? It’s important to make time for fun. Try to infuse a spirit of play into more of the everyday activities. With my kids some of the greatest teaching and learning opportunities came when we were just relaxing and having a great time. Ears, eyes and hearts are open to understanding the importance of enjoying relationships, especially with those whom we love the most. Life gets too busy too quickly; take some time to slow down and play.

Ever wonder at what stage of life our words of praise become words of criticism? It seems children naturally desire to receive praise. Praise needs to be offered in a healthy way, not so much that it becomes superficial and creates an unhealthy ego or too little that young eyes learn to become critical and negative. Words can build people up or they can tear people down. What do you choose? I have seen amazing results when adults offer words of encouragement to young minds. “C’mon, you can do it,” goes a long way in establishing confidence while at the same time developing some independence. Determination, work ethic and follow through are all traits learned or shunned while growing up in the family unit.

Ever notice how babies just keep going when they have a goal in their sights? They can fall, they can fail, they can have obstacles placed in their way, but they stay focused on getting what they want. At what age does one lose the confidence that all things are possible? What if the words spoken and the action taken point towards digging deep, getting determined, and keep on going? In the family unit, life lessons are taught everywhere.

The family is the breeding ground for growth. The choice is, are you going to be like the mediocre teacher, the good teacher, the superior teacher or the great teacher who inspires.

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