Core scripture: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
Message: I was wiped. Drained. Cooked like a well done T-bone steak. The creak of the door announced my arrival home, and my little ones attacked me with hugs before I even had a chance to toss my keys in the drawer. (How do they always have so much energy?) All I wanted was to flop down and become one with the couch, but I was soon peppered with screams of excitement from both boys. In about 23 seconds I learned about their new haircuts, a fun playdate, an awesome Scooby Doo episode, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hideout they created out of construction paper. I looked sheepishly at my beautiful wife who glided over to me.
“Welcome home, honey,” she smiled knowingly.
I embraced her. We squeezed each other for a prolonged time, and suddenly all was well. It got even better with her next comment.
“Hey, thanks for cleaning up the dishes from last night. I was expecting to see them there this morning, and it really got my morning off to a great start.”
With that compliment, my love bank was filled. And let me tell you, I NEEDED that deposit. Those two simple acts of love, a warm hug and an ordinary compliment, put wind in my sails. I was ready to tackle the evening with my boys. You see, I speak the love languages of Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. My wife is an Acts of Service gal. Me doing those dishes was just what she needed. It was an act of service. Learning about the Five Love Languages (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/) can help us better understand our students.
They all have different needs. They all are wired uniquely. Here are some ways you can show love to different types of students:
- Words of Affirmation: These kids are like little puppy dogs. When you tell them job well done, they will wags their tails and love you for it! Pepper them with compliments. Write notes to encourage them. Tell them you love their shirt or haircut. Praise them on improvements—even the smallest ones. Yes, this is totally me by the way. (This is when you reply below with a positive comment to me!)
- Acts of Service: Actions speak louder than words for these kids. Help them perform the smallest task, and they will thrive. It doesn’t stop there; however, because if you give them a class job, they will love you for it! Need chairs pushed in or your whiteboard washed? Tired of chairs never being pushed in? Assign one of these kids to the job to make them feel important and loved.
- Receiving Gifts: These kids remind me of dolphins, flapping their tails to stay upright, waiting for something, ANYTHING to be thrown their way. Maybe it is candy. A small toy or even a sticker. It could be the right to borrow a book to read from your shelf. If you speak this love language consistently to them, get ready to have your desk showered with gifts from them! My favorite gift ever? A jumbo one-pound block of Snickers chocolate that I needed a chainsaw to cut up!
- Quality Time: These kids will not necessarily care for a jolly rancher tossed at them, but if you take time to go see their soccer game or just talk to them, they will bloom. Get to know their interests. Have conversations before, during, and after class. Remember their name and use it in conversation. Let them know that you are always there for them, even if they seem needy, and mentor them fervently.
- Physical Touch: These kids are always by your side giving you a hug, high five, or fist bump. Do the same for them, but do it appropriately. One time a girl ran across the lunchroom upon seeing me, and I barely had time to shift into a side hug to greet her. Catch my drift? The coolest way to make this kid feel special is to have them assist you in creating a secret handshake. Use it as much as they need it!
Love is something that we all see in different ways. The way I cope with it is to try to toss out a variety of love languages that first week, making mental notes along the way. One kid will love your high five. The next in line might roll his eyes. Do not give up on the kids that reject you. Simply wipe the slate clean and try something new, knowing that God will guide you in the new school year. After all, all love comes through Him.
(This blog was inspired by Mark McLeod after hearing him speak at Olathe Summer Conference 2018. Mark’s passion for education runs deep, and you can find more information about him on his website at https://www.markmcleodpresents.com/services.)
Challenge: Search your students’ hearts this week. Find out what makes them tick. Discover how you can make a deposit in each unique bank, and begin investing.
Song application: “With Every Act of Love” by Jason Gray
God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you
Video application: When searching for the perfect video to start the year, I came across this Chase Mielke video. All I can say is … WOW! Incredible words of wisdom to remind us all that we do make a difference if we teach with the right passion of the heart.
Quote: “[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” (Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)
- “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
- “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
- “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)
Survey: If you have not had the opportunity to take a quick survey, here is the link. It will help me tailor my blogs to the right type of people and provide valuable input as well.
Prayer: Father, flood all educators with your love, allowing that love to spill into the young minds of students everywhere. May we all make a difference in this new school year. Amen.