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Common Bond

As the teacher of a fifth- and sixth-grade Sunday school class, my husband wanted to set a good example when the lesson called for both the kids and the teacher to write down one question they wanted to ask God. He thought of a question that bothered him, and he wrote, "Why did my parents get divorced?"

When the students shared their questions, my husband heard the same exact question from a ten-year-old girl. Then my husband read his question aloud, and he looked at her. In that brief moment, the teacher and the student made a connection. They both knew what the other was feeling. A thirty-something man and a ten-year-old girl shared an emotional bond, and they both felt a little bit better.

What are you willing to share with your students so that you can connect with them on a very real level? The kids in your class need to know that you understand them. What better way to show that you really do understand than by being open and honest about your feelings and experiences? The more your students trust you, the more they'll listen to you. That's vital, because you're sharing the most important news of all! (And sometimes, as my husband did, you might just get a little comfort in return.)

• God knows exactly what's in each person's heart-the joys, the sorrows, and the hurts. And he knows how to touch each person's heart with healing. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Think about how God has comforted you recently. Then sit down and write a thank you note to God. Tell him what his love means to you.

• Pass God's love and comfort on to your students by growing closer to them. For example, you might bring in pictures of yourself when you were their age. Let kids see what you looked like, how you dressed, how you styled you hair, and what your friends looked like. Share a few personal memories that kids might relate to, and ask kids to share stories as well.

Dear God, thank you for the comfort you give me every day. Please help me to be sensitive to the needs of others and to pass your love and comfort on to my students. In Jesus' name, amen.

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