by Dr. Brad Black
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I am on cloud nine right now. My youngest son Kaleb has prayed to ask Jesus into his heart. We have been working with him for a while. We teach Kid’s EE at our church and we practice a lot with Kaleb the different movements and songs. He is also in the AWANA group, Cubbies, and we ask him about what he learns in there and discuss that. We also talk about what he learns in Sunday school. These are easy ways to make teachable moments.
I can hear you right now, “What is a teachable moment.” Well, it is one of those phrases I learned in seminary that I paid a lot of money to learn, but is really quite simple. A teachable moment is when the heart of the student is just perfect to learn a very important truth. My younger brother was one of those people you could talk to till you were blue in the face, trying to show him something and he would never get it but he would have to be in a crises before he would understand. He had to learn through adversity. The adversity created a teachable moment in his life and he would finally learn the lesson. This can be a hard way to learn. Therefore, my child development teacher encouraged us to find or make many teachable moments in the early life of children.
By putting a child on the spot a little bit, knowing he is going to have to tell you what happened in his Sunday school class will make him or her pay attention a little more in class and making it more of a teachable moment. Then, having a discussion with them afterwards also adds possible teachable moments.
The harder moments to find are in everyday life. I will tell you one in my life that I will never forget. My dad was away on a business trip and I was young, maybe Kaleb’s age (5) or a little older. It was Sunday and we had gone to church and Sunday school that morning. It was the start of summer so we did not have to go to school the next day. So my mom lets us all watch the TV show ‘FBI” I know I just aged my self there but oh well. We normally did not get to see this show because my parents thought it would give us nightmares and it ended too late. That week’s show was about a terrible man who was always slapping, punching, kicking, pulling hair, and shooting people. I remember thinking that he was the meanest person I had ever seen. While, he was going to trial his gang helped him escape. After he escaped, he kidnapped the man who turned him in and was on the run. The FBI finally caught up with him in a little white house out in the country somewhere and there was a big shoot out. The FBI had shot and killed most of the gang and the leader (kidnapper) had been shot twice and was paralyzed from the waist down. So, the kidnapper pulled his way through the house toward the man he kidnapped just using his arms and leaving a trail of blood behind him. He pulled himself all the way to the couch and up enough to get his gun to the kidnapped man’s head and told him if the kidnapper did not live, neither would he. At that moment the FBI burst into the door, shot, and killed the kidnapper, and then there was a commercial. That is when my mom turns to all of us kids and says “You know, if that bad guy had prayed right then to Jesus to ask forgiveness for his sin, Jesus would have forgiven him.” That led to a very long discussion in our house that evening. As a young man, I could not fathom that, but that teachable moment has changed my life. This led me into a much deeper relationship with the Lord. My mother without knowing it knew how to create a teachable moment. This is at least 40 years after that and I can still remember this in detail.
I used a similar thing to help me teach Josh about the birds and the bees. We had just gotten cable and it has a million channels with different movies. It was just Josh and me at home on a cold Saturday, too cool to go outside, and we were watching movies. A movie came on that had Reese Witherspoon and the guy from CSI, we thought would be good. Well, it was not so good. The character of Reese Witherspoon played was a high school girl that had very loose morals. I started talking about this to Josh, and he started asking questions and we did not get to see much of the rest of the movie, which I am sure was a good thing.
These are just a couple of examples, but I encourage you to start looking for teachable moments in your children’s lives. It could make a real difference.
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