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Active Learning Goes Beyond Activity

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process.

Most people would agree that it is good for children to be involved in the learning process and most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • It makes the lessons more interesting, and therefore helps child to pay attention (easy for their minds to wander if you are doing all the talking)—Students do not get bored if they are actively participating in the learning process.
  • Children will often remember the concepts longer if they have been involved in the learning process.
  • When children are involved in the discovery of knowledge themselves,  sometimes they can internalize truth better—discovering a Bible truth sometimes causes that truth to be embraced in the heart, rather than just understood in the head.


Planting Seeds of Truth

He shall be like a tree

simile: n. a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another
in one respect by the use of “like,” “as,” etc.

The Bible uses similes frequently.  They paint pictures for our eyes so our minds can grasp biblical truth.  They borrow our familiarity with the ordinary to help us understand the profound.  Consider the following:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

A simple picture.  A profound truth.  Delighting in the Word of God causes us to meditate on it day and night. The person who delights in the Word of God, who is fed day and night, will not stay a sapling. He will be like a tree.

If his roots grow deeply into the Word of God, if he pulls nourishment up through those roots day and night, He will grow into a mighty tree.  Reading God’s Word makes us strong.  Just as healthy, strong trees blossom forth into fruit, those who are made strong by the steady diet of delighting in God’s Word produce fruit.

What would we give for our children to become mighty oaks of righteousness? An hour of teaching on Sunday morning? A few hours of preparation? A regular weekly prayer for the children in your small group? A passing word of spiritual encouragement to a child in your class? Each of these small investments could reap an eternal harvest.

Are you contemplating teaching Sunday school this year?

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day;
night is coming, when no one can work.
John 9:4

Are you wavering in your commitment to nurture the faith of the next generation?

And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Are you unsure of your abilities?

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7

There may be reasons for pulling back on teaching the Bible to the next generation, but there remains one great reason for staying the course…

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

May you be blessed as you plant the seeds of righteousness in the next generation, and may the children within your influence become mighty oaks of faith.

Learning at 5 and 55

Last fall I needed two maroon buttons for a jumper I was sewing for my 5-year-old granddaughter, Anna. I went with her and her mother to the one fabric store in St. John’s, Newfoundland to look for these buttons, only to find it had already closed for the day. Later, as I was waiting in the car with Anna while her mother ran another errand, Anna asked me, “Grandma, was it a good thing that the fabric store was closed?”

“No, Anna. It wasn’t a good thing. Now we have to come back tomorrow to get the buttons for your jumper.” (Bad answer.)

Evidently she stopped to consider that, because a minute or two later, Anna commented, “Grandma, I kind of think that it was a good thing that the store was closed…because God made the store be closed…and everything God does is good and right.” (Good answer.) (more…)

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