Monday, October 27, 2014

Ten Commandments for Teaching Children

Let me say this up front: the main content in this post is not original. I wish I could claim it as my own material because it's brilliant and helpful, but I can't. Not at all. It is something that someone else thought up, and I merely received somewhere along the line of my career...either in a seminary class or in a continuing education seminar somewhere. Its origin is a mystery to me, but it has been a source of wisdom and learning for me through the years, especially when it comes to giving children's sermons and leading pre-school chapel.

For about five years, I had it taped to the outside of my office door at church, but earlier this year I moved offices and it got misplaced in the shuffle. I looked for it frantically, coming up empty-handed each time. Finally I broke down and tried to Google it to see if it existed on-line somewhere. Unbelievably, nothing turned up. Eventually I contacted two former professors to ask them if they recognized the title or remembered distributing it in one of their classes. Again, nothing. I was crestfallen. I couldn't think of how I'd ever be able to re-create this list on my own.

Then, suddenly, it turned up today. I was in the process of looking for another important document and, voila! there it was lying on my desk, about one-foot from the back of my computer. It was upside down, but it had been in my line of sight the entire time. Thank you, Jesus! (By the way, I found the other paper, too).

So, I'm re-posting it here because I don't want it to go missing again. If I make a digital copy of it, I can access it wherever I am and whenever. Also, others may find it as helpful as I have. it's on-line somewhere! In the meantime, perhaps I need to come up with a list of my own: Ten Commandments for Keeping Track of Important Papers.

Here are the Ten Commandments for Teaching Children (source unknown)

1.  Give every child a chance to be a part of the lesson with special emphasis on the use of the senses.

2.  Make everything as non-threatening as possible.

3.  Be patient with children.

4.  Allow the children to control the time you spend on the lesson.

5.  Always use open-ended questions.

6.  Give children ample time to answer questions.

7.  Don't expect "standard" reactions and "standard" answers from children.

8.  Always accept divergent answers.

9.  Be sure to encourage observation.

10.  Always look for ways to extend the lessons and activities.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sonnet: Matthew 22:15-22

It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and work on one of these. But the ordination of a friend and member of my internship committee this coming Sunday presents a good excuse. I'm glad to hear that Nathan will be one of my ecumenical clergy colleagues now (he's Mennonite), even though I've considered him in many way a mentor and "pastor" since I've known him. His counsel and encouragement was critical for me during my internship year in Cairo, Egypt. He will be a blessing to whichever congregation he serves. I'm glad he's being called into this ministry.

Another trap, another clever test--
The priests would like to see this Rabbi snared
By his own words and, in a moment, pressed
To have his true allegiance thus declared.
A coin that bears the mark of Caesar's face--
This relic of an empire's legal tender--
Provokes the thought in ev'ry time and place:
To whom will God's redeemed their tribute render?
But Caesar's not the only lord who's spoken
Or stamped an image on the human story.
The empire may deserve that copper token,
But our own lives are minted from God's glory!
           And by this Rabbi's grace we heed the call:
           A gladsome tax--reflecting Christ in all.

Phillip Martin © 2014