Teach preschoolers or elementary kids long enough, and you’ll discover that not all children think you hung the moon. In fact, you may have difficulty even liking an individual child. Not liking a child doesn’t mean you don’t love him or her. However, if you find yourself hoping that a certain child is on vacation every Sunday of the year, then maybe you have a problem with liking that particular kid.
Fortunately God loves the child you are in conflict with, and God loves you. Because of that love, God sent His Son Jesus to rescue both you and the child who seems bent on making your life miserable. Most the time that kid doesn’t intend to be your nemesis. The child’s actions that lead to conflict are seldom, if ever, premeditated.
Through the years, I have taught workshops on classroom management, discipline, and positive guidance. There are definitely some techniques that equip us as teachers to navigate teacher-child conflicts. However, what do you do when none of those techniques work? When the conflict seems to be ongoing, week after week? I offer five suggestions:
- Make your goal teaching kids the Bible, not being liked by every child.
- Remember that conflict with a child is the direct result of a sinful, fallen world.
- Pray for the child’s heart, not for self-preservation.
- Practice biblical classroom management, even when nothing seems to be working.
- Focus on the child’s strengths and positive traits.
Above all, remember that Jesus loves you even when your own actions are at odds with God’s Word. Extend to challenging kids the same grace that God offers you through Christ Jesus.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grand-babies.