A Teacher’s Story (by Cheryl Arnold)

A Teacher’s Story (by Cheryl Arnold) February 24, 2015

SharingGodsLove
As many of you know, my daughter, Laura, and I published a book together late last year — Sharing God’s Love: The Jesus Creed for ChildrenIt is our hope that the children’s version of The Jesus Creed will assist parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, as they guide children into loving God and loving others in practical ways, each day. Today we begin a weekly series on reflections of how the book has been used and applied. We hope you find it useful and practical, and we pray it will usher more children into a life of loving God and loving other people.

By our friend, Cheryl Arnold:

Jesus Creed for Children

As a kindergarten teacher, I see social stories unfold at school every day. I recently observed a child stamp her foot and yell at her friends, “I am the boss of this playtime and you had better do what I say!” I also recently observed one child comfort another who was crying by bringing a tissue, offering her own personal stuffed animal from her backpack, and sitting with the crying child until she was feeling better. So how does a teacher or parent or someone who works with young children encourage more of the latter behavior? How do we shape their hearts so they will love others? Simply telling them to “be kind” or “be nice” is not enough. Children need to know what love looks like and what love sounds like in the daily life of a kid at school, at home, at activities, and any other place they may go.

I teach in a Christian school, and one of the joys of teaching there is that I can teach to the heart as well as the mind. In my lessons, I teach them how to love God and how to love others. We read Bible stories, have class conversations, and sometimes do some role playing. I am always looking for additional teaching tools, and I was delighted to add Jesus Creed for Children to my teaching toolbox. Kindergarteners love picture books of all kinds, and they loved this book when I read it to them.

Jesus Creed for Children tells about a day in the life of Aksel and his little sister Finley. The stories are presented as a series of short anecdotes, each concluding with part of the Jesus creed: “Love God with all your heart. Love other people as yourself.” My kindergarteners were fully engaged by the little stories as well as the sweet, colorful illustrations. Although the book can be read in one sitting, I chose to read it to them in smaller chunks spread over a week. In this way we could stop after each anecdote to make comments and personal connections. We talked about how others felt when they were shown love, and we talked about ways we could show love like Aksel and Finley did. My kindergarteners grew in their understanding of ways to love God and love others as we read this book together.

This is not a book to read once and set aside. Last week I pulled it out again during morning devotions. Right away my students piped up, “I remember when we read that book!” Then they wanted to share what they remembered from the first reading. We read the book again, this time in one sitting. We will reread again in the future as we continue to learn how to love God and others.


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