Sitting in the front row each week, they were hard to miss. We all tried to keep our eyes on the Sunday School superintendent, but inevitably their actions would pull our attention to them—the youngest class—during the opening and closing of each Sunday School service. Hymns were accompanied by hymnals on the head, and prayer time was full of noise and athletics.
We tried many conventional methods for stopping these antics—separating the children, holding their hands, speaking to them, rewarding good behavior with stars—but nothing worked. Week after week for months this commotion disrupted the hymns, prayers, and Responsive Reading.
As the new Sunday School teacher of this young class, I prayed earnestly to heal this situation. One week I asked the children if they understood what an example is. We talked about Christ Jesus and how his life, his work, and his loving behavior toward others were an example that we all could follow. The Bible told us that Jesus washed his disciples' feet and that he later told them, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15). It became clear to all of us, teacher included, that being an example didn't mean you had to tell someone what to do or force him or her to do something. Being an example meant that you always tried to behave a certain way, and then that good behavior would be an example to others.
Want to read this article from the Journal?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Get unlimited access to current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for issues, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more. Already a subscriber? Log in