Archive - July, 2015

Training the Mind to Pay Attention

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A friend alerted me to this interesting article: “Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus.” Though it’s written from a secular perspective, consider this observation by psychologist Daniel Goleman, as quoted in the article:

… because attention is under siege more than it has ever been in human history, we have more distractions than ever before, we have to be more focused on cultivating the skills of attention…

The attentional circuitry needs to have the experience of sustained episodes of concentration—reading the text, understanding and listening to what the teacher is saying—in order to build the mental models that create someone who is well educated…The pulls away from that mean that we have to become more intentional about teaching kids.

(Psycologist Daniel Goleman, as quoted by Katrina Schwartz in her article, “Age of Distraction: Why It’s Crucial for Students to Learn to Focus,” at ww2.kqed.org)

I believe this observation is especially pertinent as we consider teaching children the Bible. Is what we teach (scope and depth) and how we teach the Bible giving our students “sustained episodes of concentration—reading the text, understanding and listening to what the teacher is saying—in order to build the mental models that create someone who is well educated”?

At Children Desiring God, we have this commitment as one of our distinctions:

We believe that, if children are to embrace and live out the Gospel, they must have a right knowledge of God and His purposes as revealed in His inerrant and authoritative Word. Therefore, children must be taught to properly study and interpret God’s Word. Using an age-appropriate, step-by-step approach, the lesson format trains students to interact with the text using proper Bible study methods. This process begins in earnest in first grade, and increases in depth and rigor as children age and mature. Furthermore, we incorporate an interactive teaching style, carefully laid out for teachers, that serves to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills aimed at a deeper understanding of the things of God and the ability to rightly apply the Word of God.

(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Sparing Children from the Follies of Their Generation

ID-100173637Here is some very wise and timely advice from John Piper:

It is a wonderful thing that, if you believe and teach the straightforward truths of the Bible, you will spare yourself and your children a hundred follies of each new generation. If you want to be useful for your generation, you don’t need to be an expert on the latest philosophical fad, or the latest progressive morality, or the latest psychological trend. A few Christians need to study these things and respond to them. But the great majority of Christians should simply be marching to the beat of another drummer.

What most ordinary Christians need to do is go deep with the Bible and believe and absorb and teach what it means and what it implies in its straightforward statements. If you do that—if you think your way down deep into the warp and woof of the Bible, and let it shape your mind and heart—you will be spared many trendy detours that sound so up-to-date, but end in the destruction of lives.

 (From sermon, “Abhor What Is Evil; Hold Fast to What Is Good,” ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, www.desiringGod.org)

(Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

A Crucial Teachable Moment

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Parents and teachers often talk about “teachable moments.” A specific situation or circumstance arises that provides an opportunity to really drive home a particular truth and heart application in the lives of our children. Whether sharing a beloved toy, learning patience while waiting to be called on, or enduring being made fun of, hopefully we’re looking for multiple teachable moments every day to acquaint and apply biblical truths to our children.

The recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States regarding so called same-sex “marriage” is also a teachable moment—a crucial and vitally important one. Here is part of Albert Mohler’s response to the Supreme Court’s ruling:

In one sense, everything has changed. And yet, nothing has changed. The cultural and legal landscape has changed, as we believe this will lead to very real harms to our neighbors. But our Christian responsibility has not changed. We are charged to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to speak the truth in love. We are also commanded to uphold the truth about marriage in our own lives, in our own marriages, in our own families, and in our own churches.

We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us.  Christians have found themselves in this position before, and we will again. God’s truth has not changed. The Holy Scriptures have not changed. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

(From “Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed—The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage” at www.albertmohler.com)

Questions:

  • Do your children and students KNOW the biblical truth about marriage?
  • Do they know why the truth about marriage matters?
  • Would your older children and students be able to articulate and give a defense of the truth?
  • By the time they reach adulthood, will they have been equipped and encouraged to live out the truth about marriage?

Here is a free lesson and student journal pages from our curriculum Your Word Is Truth to help older children and students understand what the Bible—the Truth—has to say about marriage. And here are the visuals and handouts for this lesson. The lesson develops the following main ideas:

  • Marriage is God’s design to join together one man and one woman in a unique lifetime commitment.
  • Marriage is God’s unique design to display the complementary roles of men and women most fully.
  • Marriage is a picture of Jesus’ amazing loving and faithful relationship with His people, the church, in which His people joyfully submit to and follow Him.
  • Marriage is God’s design for the wonderful gift and responsibility of having and training children to be followers of Jesus.

(Photo, USSupremeCourtWestFacade, by UpstateNYer – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USSupremeCourtWestFacade.JPG#/media/File:
USSupremeCourtWestFacade.JPG)

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