For the last eight years I have been involved in religious education. It started with children and then it extended to the parents, and through this experience God keeps reminding me to be humble and just be kind. I learn from the children who are so trusting and naturally kind. They don’t need a lot of content what they need is a positive example.
How do you give a nonbeliever faith? I honestly don’t think we can give someone that precious gift because it’s a gift from God, but something I think we must do is pray for them and just try to be kind, like Jesus, and through this kindness we will establish rapport and from rapport trust begins to form and from trust relationships develop and then once we have created rapport, trust and relationship by being kind we will have built the context that will allow spiritual content to take root.
Sometimes I find “teachers” can get really caught up in “content” and forget that learning requires “positive context” –which I would define as the environment we create to allow for that content to take root, mature and grow. We are so busy relaying content that we don’t understand why all the seeds of wisdom are rapidly dying. Content dies if the soil of learning “context” is not prepared properly. Jesus explains this in the parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13)
One day a priest shared with me this story. In the seminary the teacher instructed the new priests in formation to go into the schools and speak to the children and he told them “just be kind”. The Priest told me all the seminarians laughed because they wanted to relay “content”…But what the wise teacher understood was that when we create rapport and relationship by being kind, people are more likely to want to listen to us and then we can begin to relay content. And in fact just by being kind we are relaying a message of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
You may be thinking “this is not relevant to me because I am not a teacher”…and yet are we not all teachers to one another? In one moment, we learn, in another we teach…You inspire me, I inspire you and we get to a higher ground together… “Just be kind”…and people will see Jesus and they will want to listen to us and trust us because we only want to be a source of God’s blessing, never to judge, never to harm or hurt, just to comfort and help where we can. And let’s keep praying for God’s guidance and help, for without Him we can do nothing!