It's a routine thing. You load up the car after church, and each week your kids go round robin to tell you what they learned in Sunday school that day.
One week, however, your third grader repeats a story her teacher told that doesn't seem to match what the Bible teaches. How should you respond? It would be easy to pull your daughter out of that class or gossip about the teacher with other parents. But why not talk to the teacher first? The following pointers can help your meeting be amicable and geared toward resolving things quickly.
- Arrange for a personal meeting after the coming week's class. A face–to–face meeting allows you both to hear each other's voice inflections and see each other's facial expressions—something that e–mail and phone calls can't always provide.
- Before you meet, make a few notes or practice what you're going to say so you can stick to your point and stay calm.
- Start by thanking the teacher for volunteering to teach your child each week.
- Think "cooperation." You're not there to win and the Sunday school teacher doesn't need to win. You're both there for the benefit of your child.
- Explain why you're there. Say, "I have a question about something my child said when I asked about last week's lesson."
- Be specific: "This is what my child said he learned." Remember, you only know what your child has repeated. The real story could be very different.
- Determine if your child recalled things accurately. Ask, "Can you briefly recap what the lesson was about?" This gives you a chance to hear what the teacher really said.
- Ask God to help you work through the situation patiently.
Most often, these simple steps will resolve the issue. Either you'll learn that the teacher misspoke and is happy to correct her slip–up, or that your child misheard and you and the teacher can agree on a way to correct the child's misunderstanding.
If you and the teacher can't solve the problem, meet together with the Sunday school superintendent or with your church's Christian education director. Often a third party can help you iron out disagreements.
Brad Lewis, a member of the CPT Advisory Board, lives with his wife and two sons in Colorado Springs.
Copyright © 2004 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian Parenting Today magazine.Click here for reprint information on Christian Parenting Today.