The “9” in the 16-9 Movement is learning to display the Fruit of the Spirit in a public school classroom while honoring the laws of our great nation. Have you ever noticed that the 9 fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” are really the fruit of the Spirit (singular). When we truly live out our faith, all 9 fruit are exuded as one. Wow, that’s a huge charge. Teachers who are living out their faith know that there are just too many of those days when we don’t feel so joyful or peaceful or even under self-control. However, as Christians we are forgiven for our sins and convicted quickly to repent. When we don’t display these fruit, we must acknowledge before God and with His Spirit be transformed. It’s no easy process and will certainly take us a lifetime, but for this discussion, I would like to take the classroom-eye view of what it looks like to LOVE in the classroom.
Love is powerful. It covers all sin. That student that gives us the most difficult time is loved also. Loving the unlovable is God’s way. To be Jesus people, we look to Him. Who did He touch? – the untouchable. Who did He seek? – the lost. Who did He love? – the outcast. Our classrooms of America are filled with students who have never had a kind word, a touch without strings attached and a life of difficulty. It’s not easy to love the unlovable, but that’s what we are called to do as Christian educators. What does love look like in the classroom? When we love our students, we serve them. We seek ways to enter into a personal relationship with them to truly get to know their needs in order to meet them. We all know how hard that is to do with classrooms that are too huge or full of issues, but love always covers. Loving our students means setting boundaries that are clear and consistent. Students always want to know the limits and will push them until the boundary is defined.
Loving our students can also be a simple task of greeting them at the door as they come in. This small but powerful move, sets the stage of caring. One of my favorite teachers of all time greets his students at the door every day, every class period with a fist pump and the words, “Welcome home.” His students feel loved and know they can trust him. Love is always displayed in unexpected ways. No one has a right to love, that is why it is such an elusive commodity. We all hunger for it, yet are often afraid to love. Be bold. Love your students with kind words, random acts of kindness, Pay It Forward initiatives and smiling. Jesus loved the little children and we may be the only touch of Jesus on some of the lives of these children. John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Please let us know other ways to display love in the classroom in the comment area. You are loved!
Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.