Transparency isn’t just another name for a film sheet used on an “overhead” projector—it’s also an essential quality of a good teacher. Transparent teachers are open and honest. They don’t spend their energy trying to cover up or wear a mask that hides who they really are.
Genesis 3, the story of Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve, teaches us that the essence of evil is deceitfulness and lies. An adult who teaches children must never mislead the kids they’ve promised to teach. To do so may be to cause Jesus’ “little ones,” the ones he loved and died for, to stumble.
Paradoxically, if you’re not transparent, kids can see right through you! To be true to Christ and to the kids you teach, cultivate honesty in your life.
- Be honest with God. God wants your commitment to him and to ministry among his people. Christians are people “on the way”—you don’t have to be a perfect role model. Instead you’re called to be a living, growing child of God, committed to letting God be the King of your life. Children of the King want to root out the sin that creeps into their hearts. If you’ve not yet submitted to God, confess your sin and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help.
- Be honest with yourself. God knows that at times you will become tired, discouraged and ready to throw in the towel. You won’t always feel “up” and full of excitement about your ministry to kids. Sometimes you won’t even like them very much! Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’re the right person for this job. You needn’t pretend to be a saint, tireless and ever eager to do good works. When you admit negative feelings to yourself, you’re ready to take the next step—sharing them with God and with God’s people. That’s where you’ll find the help you need. Being honest with yourself marks the beginning of growth and change.
- Be honest with your fellow leaders. Church leaders who organize children’s programs are always looking for volunteers. You’ve said yes. And now it’s up to you to let them know when you have questions, problems, doubts, or frustrations. If you feel like you need more training, if the supplies you were promised don’t materialize, if you feel like you need a little time off, speak up. Be honest. Don’t hide issues that will fester and cause anger or discouragement.
- Be honest with children. No, you don’t have to bare your soul and confess your darkest sins to your kids. But you should be able to say honestly that you are a sinner, that you have doubts or questions, that sometimes you struggle. If kids raise a question you can’t answer, say so. If they catch you in an inconsistency, admit it. If something is troubling you—your mother’s cancer, your spouse’s unemployment, or your runaway dog—say so. When you become vulnerable, kids are more likely to come to you with their own problems. And who knows, they just might surprise you—by sending a card to your mother or praying for your spouse or making some posters to help you find your dog!