Teaching Children

James Sanders
Mary Crane, Texas

Imparting the Living Oracles to young minds is one of the greatest challenges in the world. It is of unspeakable importance. What is taught in childhood will be seen in manhood and read in eternity. Nothing is more rewarding or more fearful than teaching children.

Children have an almost natural yearning for knowledge. They are born with enthusiasm. But often that enthusiasm is stifled by dull illustrations or poor preparation on the part of the teacher. Lessons need to be filled with ideas but not stuffed with facts. Teaching should inspire and awaken the interest of the student. Do not tell everything; make the student think. He will remember the point longer that way. This is what the master Teacher did. The Lord would often lead His disciple to a conclusion; He never forced lessons upon them, which they were not prepared to learn. Do not overlook illustrations-they are the windows of effective teaching. Fresh illustrations and thorough preparation have no substitutes.

Above all, remember that the servant of the Lord must be patient (2 Tim. 2:24). Especially is this so with young minds so fresh from God. Everything is new to them. Children are not miniature adults-they are children. Often this escapes us in our teaching. We become vexed and sometimes even impatient because our students are not learning. But the next time you find yourself disheartened, sit down and try to write with your left hand and then remember that a child is all left hand.

In teaching others, two things are paramount. Ezekiels commission to the captive house of Israel illustrates both points:

1. First, this prophet of God was told to open his mouth and eat the scroll of the Lord and then go speak unto Israel (Ezek. 3: 1). Ezekiel first had to fully understand the Word of the Lord before he was qualified to teach it to others. So it is with us today. We must know before we can teach. And what is set before us in the Scriptures we must eat.

2. Second, Ezekiel sat where they sat (Ezek. 3:15). We must understand those we teach. We must sit where they sit.

February 15, 1973