One Nation, Under God…

Mar 2, 2015 by

One Nation, Under God…

How do I exemplify Jesus in a world that prohibits me

from talking about my faith in the workplace?


Religious Neutrality:

In America our schools are designed to be religiously neutral. I genuinely feel that this is one of the strengths of the American public school system. It allows complete freedom from discrimination by teachers and administration, as it is, I cannot alter a child’s beliefs while he or she is in my classroom. I am allowed to focus on creating a safe place for students to learn and grow without fear of retribution, criticism or discrimination based on their religious values. This is a positive thing, really, it is. This allows students of all faiths to come together and learn, to better themselves, to experience an education, and to be loved. This is a blessing in so many ways, because it gives me an opportunity to interact and to love on students who might otherwise not go to school, or whose parents wouldn’t place them in private, religious based school settings.

And, just because I do not mention God does not mean that he is not at work in this story. We have a mantra in my room that gets repeated whenever there is an occasion of teasing each other: “In this classroom we are kind. “ We also discuss positive character, integrity and brotherly love. We have tutoring programs, and after school support for kiddos who do not have that at home. The box of granola bars in my desk is depleted weekly by the little girl who “forgets” her lunch. My church partners with several area elementary schools by providing backpacks in the fall, Christmas presents and coats in the winter and lunch programs in the summer. We are motivated by love and faith to do these things, and although I don’t necessarily get to discuss my faith with my students and coworkers, it is evidenced through my actions that there is something different in my life. This classroom is full of love.


 

Classroom Examples of Christ:

We had a writing prompt in our classroom this fall asking students to write a descriptive paragraph about their favorite holiday and family traditions. When I later went around the room asking students what their favorite holidays were and why, I was blown away by one little girl who said: “Easter, because that is when Jesus Christ rose from the grave.” My politically correct response was, “Excellent! And you Joe?” as I moved on to the next child. But, later, privately I was able to tell that child that I was proud of the courage it takes her to be open with her faith.

Many of America’s public school teachers and administrators are heroes and crusaders for Christianity.  Many of these people do what they do every day because of their faith, myself included.  We don’t need mandatory prayers read over the loudspeaker to “put God back in schools.”  We don’t need to argue over the words in the Pledge of Allegiance, God has not left the schools.  God is still at work through me , within committed parents, and passionate educators and administrators who seek to help give our children an education laced with love.

People, especially Christians, seem to get very riled up about this topic. I think it’s important to remember that Jesus lives within his believers, that I can show Christ’s love through my actions, and tolerance and kindness speak much, much louder than words.

For instance, Jesus taught us to love and serve one another. I can teach this in my classroom. I can show my students how Jesus lived his life in the way that I live mine. They will learn about helping people in need and visiting and assisting the elderly or the sick. In this way, we can teach our children to develop empathy for others, and use kindness in the way in which they treat each other. We can also teach them to honor their parents and respect and serve other people. I can live like Christ in that I can be loving toward my students, in the same way that Jesus showed compassion to children in the Bible.

I can demonstrate to my students what a healthy relationship looks like, and why marriage is something to be cherished and waited for. Many of my kids come to me from broken homes, their examples of strong women and kind men are limited. I love to tell my students stories about my marriage and my husband so that they will know that healthy and loving relationships are possible and aspire to that in their own lives. I talk with girls about relationships and what it means to have pride in yourself, why boyfriends are unnecessary at this age (12) and how waiting for the right guy to come into your life is worthwhile. We discuss what love looks like, and why friendship is an important element to a loving relationship.

I can share with my students how I honor my father and my mother, even though there were times in my life when my father hasn’t been that supportive of me. I talk to them about volunteering and I can mention how I get up early on the weekends to go to church.

I can show them Christ’s love. And I do.Why Jesus is Still in My Classroom and How to Show Kids Christ's Love  | www.lovetheeveryday.com

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