“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. “
-James 1:19 NIV
Last weekend my family and I were rushing out the door to head to church. This usually takes a while with little kids, but this day we needed extra travel time to get to our destination because our service was being held at a campground for our church’s annual retreat. We left on time and I brought all kinds of snacks for the ride for them to munch on and some water to drink.
As we got closer, both of my kids said they had to use the bathroom. Of course they could not wait until we got to the campground so I quickly pulled into a gas station. As I opened the door to get the out, I realized I forgot one thing…shoes and socks. Although it was gross and the sign says no shoes, no shirt, no service, I took them in anyways to the bathroom.
I was kicking myself that I was in such a hurry to get them out the door and to get going that I forgot such a basic thing! We did end of getting to the campground and you know what? A lot of other kids did not have shoes on either or they took them off soon after the service started. We ended up have a great time out there, but I am glad we didn’t turn around just to get shoes. Being there was more important.
This is the same in the classroom. Sometimes you will have a ton of things competing for your attention outside of school or your lesson plans fail completely, despite all of that you are still there for your students and children. Here are some ways to be more intentional about listening and engaging with your students and your own children
Intentional Engagement Strategies
- Eye Contact– If your child approaches you while you are on the computer, look away from the screen while you talk to them (This is hard for me at school sometimes)
- Ask open ended questions– Ask them questions that require more than a yes or a no response.
- Be Google– It’s OK if you don’t know the answer, but let them know that you will have to look around and will get back to them to find out what they are looking for.
- Proximity- Be visible and near your children or students if they have clarifying questions
- Honesty– Let your children and students know you made a mistake. If my lesson bombs, I let them know it didn’t work out and we would revisit it another time. They will appreciate you being honest
- Body Language– Even if you are not speaking, your body language will tell your students how you are feeling. Make sure you are sending the right message.
I know life can get busy at school and home, but being there with your kids and being available to them is one of the best gifts you can give them. It’s OK if you forget a few things along the way, but be intentional and make the most of the time you have left of the school year with your students. They will remember that you were there for them.
A special Thank You to all of our veterans who have served in our military. We appreciate you and for many who have many the ultimate sacrifice so we can keep our freedom. We thank and salute you for your service!