• ECEnet: Sharing and Building a Christian Worldview

  • Sharing and Building a
    Christian Worldview

    Chaos penetrates our lives in ways we never could have predicted. This chaos has sent families scrambling to find alternatives for their families. Some of these families have turned to the Lutheran school to find safety; others for an in-person, education as the public system struggles to provide a safe option; and other families are searching for something “not online,” a place where their children can learn to build relationships. Whatever their reasons, families are desperate to have their children learn in a safe and caring environment. As we explore ways to best serve this influx of new families, we need to understand their worldviews and how they impact their hopes and desires for their children.

    As we explore ways to best serve this influx of new families, we need to understand their worldviews and how they impact their hopes and desires for their children. What is a worldview? Everyone has a worldview. A worldview includes a wide array of prejudgments, and every person derives their personal biases from their worldview. Our worldview is not limited to our knowledge base, perspectives, cultural, and historical settings, but is the sum of these ideas.

    A Christian worldview is unique in that Christ is the center. A biblical worldview is based on God’s revelation in the Bible. Being compassionate, generous with time, patient, trustworthy, an active listener, inspirational, and perceptive to people’s feelings are all indicators of mature Christian love.

    Worldviews are built. Children build their worldview in conjunction with their parents and environment. Interactions and relationships that children  encounter influence and direct the development of their worldview (Powel & Clark, 2011). Discord breeds fear, while nurturing creates trust. Children learn to see order and how to make their way in the world. They develop expectancy filters that are crucial to how they identify, recognize, react, and respond to the world. Rituals and milestones also play an important role in passing along a worldview to children (Powel & Clark, 2011).

    As we welcome families with other worldviews, we strive to build a genuine community, being together in difference and diversity. The opportunity to be respectful of the worldview parents maintain gives us the opportunity to influence the worldview of their children. It is an activity of faith.

    Many families have intertwined worldviews; there is room for logic, science, and reason, just not with the expense of aligning it with Christ. As we welcome these families into our family, we must find ways to integrate and educate what our Christian worldview is and why it is truth. Occasionally, we must have crucial conversations about the limits of knowledge. We must share that reason is not impartial, and it only stretches so far. There are no airtight logical arguments, although we may wish there were. We must gently and caringly share our paradigm.

    We owe it to the children to demonstrate Christ’s love for the church and for humanity through active service to one another and to the community. Our worldview is our way of life. The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, yet the world says love your neighbor but not at the expense of loving yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the service of self, making sure my needs and wants are met. Yet, that is not what Christ calls us to do “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 ESV). Service has been shelved for far too long. We owe it to the children to demonstrate Christ’s love for the church and for humanity through active service to one another and to the community. Our worldview is our way of life.

    Integrate faith and learning. Be an influencer, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14 ESV). We have a responsibility to guide. Be imitators of Christ, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17 ESV).

    As we communicate with our family members (students, parents, and congregation members), we should vary our communication styles strategically; use questions, statements, gratitude, affirmation, persuasion, and support.

    Create a culture of care with your students and families. An important factor in the development of a young person’s worldview is the influence of their teachers (Fyock, 2008). Relationships are the heart of teaching. Teach children and adults to serve one another; this brings intrinsic joy. Live a life of service—out loud. Make sure you celebrate the gift of giving! Enjoy the fruits of service by demonstrating appreciation for the gifts shared. At our school we practice weekly “gifts of service.” We encourage students to quietly serve one another by opening and holding doors, saying good morning, and doing other simple tasks. Our students pay it forward. Teachers are purposeful and specific when asking students to perform these tasks, teaching the children to become caring citizens.

    Communicate in love. We pray for others. God changes our perspective when we pray for others. Perhaps we pray that someone understands a hurtful situation or another person finds room in their heart to forgive something I may have done. We share Christ’s love by explicitly saying “I love you” as well as by demonstrating God’s love in caring ways. My staff is educated in how to respond to parents or caregivers in supportive and understanding ways. We answer emails within a few hours with, at minimum, a quick note back that I got your message and I will get back to you. I ask my staff to pray before starting a reply and to pray again before hitting the send button. If it is an extremely difficult message, I ask my staff to have someone else review it, and then reread it in the morning before hitting send.

    Hope, encourage, instruct, and admonish all with enthusiasm. I try to find windows of time to publicly give praise. Everyone enjoys the acknowledgement of a job well done. Hope, encourage, instruct, and admonish all with enthusiasm. I try to find windows of time to publicly give praise. Everyone enjoys the acknowledgement of a job well done. Because not all messages are for public consumption, find a quiet, private space to speak. A word of hope, that they are not alone, can change a parent’s day. A word of encouragement—“you got this, I trust you”—can change a child’s world. Direct instruction as to expectations can help families to understand how to walk within the biblical worldview the school espouses. If you end up admonishing a parent or student, administer care, love, and compassion!

    We live in amazing times. Use the tools available to communicate—Zoom, FaceTime, telephone, email, texts, or whatever means necessary to communicate early and often. The journey of embracing and integrating families into your church family is long and occasionally arduous, yet so worth it! Sharing your worldview will increase the effectiveness of your communication and serve to enable both you and families to understand one another in Christ’s love.

    • How do we influence the worldview of families not of like mind?
    • What is a worldview and how does culture influence a Christian worldview?
    • How do we serve those God has provided, in a purposeful manner?

    Our culture influences the worldview of students and their families. If we present materials from a Christian worldview, which is our mission, we will ultimately bring about the integration of a Christian worldview. Students may not readily recognize discrepancies in their approaches, yet we endeavor to move students toward a “truer” interpretation, including Christ as the guiding principle.

    The chaos that encroaches in our world is no match for Christ. He has prepared us for times such as these. Trust that God has got this, He is in control, and He will work it for our good. As families and their children grace your door step, remember that God brought them to you.

    Joan Davis has taught in Lutheran schools for more than 30 years. She is currently teacher and administrator of Redeemer Lutheran School in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    References

    Fyock, J.A., 2008, The effect of the teacher’s worldviews on high school seniors, digitalcommons.liberty.edu

    Powell, K. E., & Clark, D. (2011). Sticky faith: Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    Theron, P.M. & Lotter, G.A., 2009, The necessity of an integral Christian worldview: Reconnoitering the challenges for influencing the unbelieving world, scielo.org.za

     

    Photos © iStock/omgimages, Oleksandr Zamurviev, Sasiistock.

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