What does it mean to hold a Christian view of children? We’ve been working with the AMO program in the DR and I have enjoyed digging in to what it teaches and why. In the week-long AMO training, teachers and directors are able to study God’s word as they learn new teaching techniques and methodologies. They are challenged in their thinking and encouraged to expand their Christian worldview as well as their pedagogy. One of the points AMO stresses is the importance of viewing children the way God does, and what better way to do that than by reading his word?
In Genesis 1 we see the story of creation; the wonder, power and creativity God demonstrated by simply speaking. He spoke us into being and not only that but created us in his image. We also find that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) This will help shape the framework for understanding that God has created each child, in His image, and with a purpose. Even more, in Matthew 18, Jesus encourages us to become like children, because they are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Knowing and understanding the importance God places on children should inspire us to seek excellence as we care for and educate them.
My favorite take-away from one of the AMO trainings I attended this summer was an analogy the trainer, Cristina, used when describing who we are humans. Her question to the group was, as human beings are we more like a glass full of water or an empty glass waiting to be filled? Everyone had their ideas of which was right and argued their case. In the end Cristina explained that biblically speaking we are more like the full glass. She elaborated by saying that we are actually more like seeds. God has instilled in us the potential we need to become what he has created to be. As seeds in order to flourish, we need to be planted and cared for. Therefore, as educators we cannot add anything to a child; rather it is our responsibility to cultivate the potential in them. I know that this concept challenges the participants’ worldview of children, but in the most encouraging way. Now, rather than feeling a burden to form a child, we feel the freedom to allow them to discover who they are. Rather than thinking we need to teach them everything they need to know, we realize we have the opportunity to teach them to use the brilliant minds God has given them.
I have previously written about the importance AMO places on on establishing a Christian foundation here. As the body of Christ we have been called to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). I see education as being a tool we can use in fulfilling this call. We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to the children we educate, becoming more like them in the process. What a blessing.
Stay tuned for more on AMO next month!