Can you see it? There’s a glow within your grasp. This light at the end of the tunnel promises things unheard of during the school year. Family time. Vacation time. Quiet time. Time to decompress, relax, and rejuvenate. It is so close that you’re beyond the seeing part—you feel it! Taste it. Savoring every promising bite. The aroma is too potent, and it tickles your taste buds. A summer vacation buffet of God’s blessings is being dangled in front of us now, but be leery. Your job is not over. The last weeks of school is when Satan cooks up a plethora of temptation full of sweets that look pleasing to the eye now but will soon be putting “love handles” on the Christian teacher. It is time to put on the battle gear and ready your hearts for what is to come.
Don’t worry. Take heart! There is a cure for these temptations, and it resides in God’s Word. Paul reminds us of this truth in his first letter to the Corinthians: “No temptation has overcome you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10: 13). Ladies and gents, I present to you some Biblical truths that need to be taken to heart. Now.
Truth # 1: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2: 14). Satan loves complainers. And don’t you know this is the time of year when he starts working in the students, checking them out early. Here’s the thing. A little venting is most certainly needed to keep the sanity, but when you let complaining rule your day, it sucks the life right out! Try focusing on the kids that are doing the job right. Praise them for all they do! And do it in front of the entire class, making the rest of those swaying toward the dark side curious.
Truth # 2: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1: 19). True story. I was processing with a student who had a dispute with another kid while I was attending a funeral last week. He began by saying, “I mean, I know he’s like mentally retarded or something,” and then chortled to his buddy nearby. Holy smokes! He was talking about my only modified kid of all my 115 students! But I held myself back. I let that sarcastic rebuttal die inside me because it only would have escalated the situation. And now this morning, having let my anger subside, I get to process with this young man and explain my expectations as he serves a detention.
Truth # 3: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” (Proverbs 13: 24). Sometimes I just want to give up. Does anyone else have that temptation to reason of if you can’t beat em, join em? Just give up and play “Llamas With Hats” on youtube as you clean out your inbox. The teacher that gives up discipline now is letting their students rule over them. Clamp down. Keep to your rules and expectations. Refer to them often in a loving way. Tough love needs to be shown. It shows you care about your students. They may not realize it now, but they will down the road. Don’t submit to Satan now. Remember: according to this scripture, discipline = love.
Truth # 4: “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13: 4). Problem: This time of year homework dies down, and the students have next to nothing to do the last half hour of the day in Cougar Time. The lazy teacher will play “Llamas With Hats” and give in. The teacher that refuses to stop toiling will use these moments to inject life lessons through videos with purpose. Find a few inspirational stories online that might spark good discussion. Go to www.wingclips.com and try putting in a theme you’d like to discuss. See what pops up. These are the type of lessons that will change lives. You can find more of them under the tab right next to this one titled “Character Lessons.” Mold their character until that final bell!
Truth # 5: “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). Love conquers all. Every word, every step, every essence of the Christian teacher should epitomize love. Show that love, and encourage others in doing so as well. One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities that I do is to have every kid stand up. Start by paying a genuine compliment to someone in class. Make it heartfelt. Sincere. Make that kid beam from ear to ear. That student then has the responsibility of doing likewise for one of their classmates. Once they do it, they are allowed to sit, and their complimentee keeps the ball rolling. Play this activity until everyone gets a compliment. If you have that shy kid who just can’t function, don’t let them suffer. Take the ball from them and continue the compliment train yourself, allowing the student to sit. You will be amazed at what love will do to a kid!
God provides a smorgasbord of healthy truth in His Word. Dig into it this week. Take it upon yourself to memorize a scripture that you need to have in your heart to survive the last few weeks. God gives us all free will to choose what we consume on a daily basis. Are you going to be indulging in his healthy options? Or are Satan’s sweets going to get the best of you? Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? Remember, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). Indulge yourselves in God’s buffet. Now and forever.