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What's Special About This Child?

Some children, shy, sweet and affectionate, are easy to love. Their good points take no special digging to uncover. Other children, however, hide their lights and a tired, frustrated teacher may be unable to see any glimmer of the celestial in such a child. Since Itís impossible to make a positive change in the life of a child we donít love, itís essential that we find the good in every child, however well he may have buried it.

At the beginning of the year, create a page in your notebook for each child. Every Sunday evening, write down anything the child did or said that was positive. You may have to really work to notice something, but every child has a sweet moment once in a while. Did he answer a question correctly? (He knows the gospel well.) Did he answer it wrong, but in a way that tells you he was thinking? (He really thinks about gospel principles.) Was his answer silly? (He has a charming sense of humor.) Did he bounce all over the room? (He is energetic and enthusiastic.) Jot down his most humorous answers as well as his thoughtful ones.

Each week, as you add items to your notebook, read over old entries. If you arenít putting anything down for your especially challenging student, you arenít trying hard enough. Begin praying to see his best qualities. God knows what they are and Heís willing to share them with you if you approach the problem with an open heart.

If you find a child is especially difficult to love, make an effort to learn more about him and his background. You may learn something that touches your heart or explains the challenges. Itís easier to understand bad behavior when you understand the cause. Has the child experienced stressful situations in his life? Does he have disabilities? Does he have parents who are at a loss to know how to train him, so no one has trained him? Look for the causes to help you soften your heart toward this child.

Finally, remind yourself that this child is loved by Heavenly Father, however frustrating he may be. Itís likely he is loved by his parents as well. Now, he also needs your love. Even a challenging, frustrating child might grow up to be a bishop someday if just one teacher cares enough to reach him.

At the end of the year, perhaps for Christmas, write up the childís good qualities and give them to him. You may be the only person who has ever noticed.

Copyright © 2007 Deseret Book
I Feel My Savior's Love Picture Set

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Content copyright © 2013 by Terrie Lynn Bittner. All rights reserved.
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