Students Know When You Love Them
I can fall in love with concepts; like, the idea of loving students. We know how much students need love, and the idea of showing them love is one that inspires me. But loving students (the actual act of caring for them when they don’t care about themselves, me, or their futures) is hard. I believe students know you love them when…
1. You resist labeling them.
Adults can be quick to label students when they think they know something about that student. Adults often label students because they know someone in their family, because of the school they go to, or where they live. Clothes give reason to label, along with sports and sometimes even their hobbies. Reject labels and get to know students for who they are. When you do this, they will know that you love them.
2. You have a long-term view of them.
If you have an expectation of how students should behave, they will assume that they don’t add up when they don’t meet that expectation. Listen, each student is different and they mature at different ages and stages. Have a long-term view of them, love them now for who they will become.
3. You care more about them than being liked by them.
Students know when you do things for them vs. doing things to show off for them. Be real and remember you’re not important! Students won’t love you for driving fast or mocking other adults or letting them get away with stuff. They will, however, love you for bringing them to Jesus.
Editor's Note: Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, a ministry dedicated to creating tools and resources to enable youth workers to develop students into leaders. Doug's blog, www.dougfranklinonline.com, has a wealth of insights.