Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1, NIV
We hear a lot about Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) these days. For many of us over a certain age, this may seem like a new fad because these programs did not exist when we were students. However, there is good reason to be concerned for our students. Tragically, over the last decade or so there has been an alarming rise in depression, anxiety, mental health issues, and suicide among children and adolescents. Our students are growing up in an increasingly difficult world, compounded by a culture that strays further and further away from God. When you insert a person into darkness and then take away the only true source of light, is it a wonder that they would despair?
In the public schools where I’ve taught, SEL has been pushed through meditation and mindfulness exercises. I believe these are the secular world’s attempts at fixing a problem that only has one solution: Jesus.
As a Christian, I know that my resiliency to life’s challenges is rooted in the hope I have in Christ. But as a public school teacher who wants to keep my job, how do I genuinely help my students find this hope?
Be the light. Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
The best way that we can live out the Gospel is to stand aside and let not our own light shine, but the light of Christ IN us. We are called to be role models in our jobs and communities; likewise, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting, lost, and dying world.
I want to encourage you to do your best every day to consciously remember that you may be the only “face” of Jesus some of your students see in their daily lives. What do you want Christ to look like to them?
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be a good representative of You today. Help me to remember that You have put me in this time and place with these students not by accident, but by design. Show me opportunities to demonstrate Your love and grace to them. Shine through me, Lord, that YOUR name may be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright Rhapsody Jordan-Parisi.
Rhapsody is a member and high school English teacher from North Carolina. She is passionate about helping struggling teachers strike a balance between success and sanity at her blog, tightropeteaching.com.