Stay Above the Line

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Core scripture“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

Message: They are coming.  Those little ones that are tough to love.  The ones the teachers from last year are still complaining about.  The ones that call the principal’s office or the ISS room their second home.  The ones that will haunt your dreams if you do not get on your side right now.  Maybe it is the class clown.  The social misfit.  Mr. oppositional defiant.  Little miss drama queen.  If they have not already shown their true colors, it is coming.  Soon.  Like Monday.  Not getting a grip on this now will plague ALL your children.  How will you deal with that?

Stay above the line.

Our school had the privilege of hearing from veteran retired educator Tom Cody last week.  He lived the first half of his teaching career allowing sarcasm and biting remarks get the best of him until he had a friend speak truth to him.  Tom learned about the line.  When you are above the line, you are at your best.  You are positive and upbeat.  You make wise choices.  You are patient and understanding.  There is a pep in your step that radiates into all your students.  But when you drop below the line, that is when the you-know-what hits the fan.  Tom’s message was simple.

Stay above the line.

When you allow the rough around the edges kids to take you down, you slip below the line.  And let’s face it.  It is going to happen a few times.  Nobody is perfect.  You will slip below the line and allow negativity to get the best of you.  Anger spews out.  Sarcasm.  Even apathy.  You lose all patience.  Understanding is thrown out the window.  Those Fruits of the Spirit that once flowed through you are now rotted away.  All on a count of a few bad apples that brought you down.  So, what do you do?  How do you keep from drowning?  Get them on your side.  Now.

Stay above the line.

A teacher can connect with any kid out there.  You might cheer for the same team.  You might both like pizza.  Or the same comedian.  Or be the oldest child.  Or have the same favorite color.  Find that connection and roll with it.  If making a connection is a stretch, the least you can do is make them feel special based on what they thrive on.  Maybe he gets a nickname like Batman if he loves the caped crusader.  Put the kid’s name in one of your homework questions if they like attention.  Even just asking them about their passion, whatever it may be, can do the trick.

Stay above the line.

If you slip below the line, know that it happens to the best of us, BUT find a way to trampoline back up.  Try deep breathing.  In the nose, out the mouth.  Model that for your students.  Before you know it they will do the same to control moments when they go below the line.  Get your timer out and set twelve seconds on the clock.  Click it and vomit out all the frustrations plaguing you, and then move on.  Find a happy place.  Get a squeeze ball and crush it.  Tell a joke to lighten the mood.  Shake off the cobwebs and trampoline back up where you are at your best.

Be content no matter what the circumstance.  Paul was a man who had it all at times and had nothing at other times.  He explains it so well when he says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).If you are all in, you will be a Paul.

Stay above the line.

Challenge: Find a few of your high flyer kids that need that bit of extra love and understanding.  Go out of your way to connect with these kids.  Make them feel special.  Wrap them around your finger from day one, showing them unconditional love.

Song application: “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong Worship

Well, everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
But let mercy fall on me
Well everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

My Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

Video application: I have seen Kristen Bowen’s videos before, and this one is fantastic.  She gives five steps in dealing with defiant students.  This video suits elementary teachers the most; however, plenty can be applied to the middle and high school level as well.

Quote: “If you truly loved someone you won’t become their enemy. You will become their guardian angel.” (Shannon L. Alder)

Bible story: Read Luke 6:27-36.  Jesus talks here about loving your enemies.  How can we apply these thoughts to loving difficult students?  What is Jesus’ answer to those who upset us?

Prayer: Lord, help us reach out to the more difficult students that disrupt our classrooms.  Let us be a light to them that they have never seen before.  Keep us above the line to show others who You really are.  Amen.

Categories: Uncategorized

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