The Sunday School And its Work --Part 4

The Sunday School And its Work
Part 4

Ormer G. C. Sprunt

(continued from last month)

Discipline In The Sunday School

Discipline is an important subject and this article is written as a result of practical experience and observation.

Order with regularity in both teachers and scholars are necessary to success in Sunday School work, and no school can exist long in a healthy condition where there is not godly management. This need not to be done on the part of the Superintendent in an overbearing manner or in such a way as to cause teachers to feel themselves in bondage. It is essential to good order and harmonious working that the superintendent should take the lead having all the teachers as his “staff.”

The Superintendent should not scold the scholars, nor should he tell them how bad they have been. They should be put on their honour, and given to understand that you expect their best behaviour. Control them with your eyes. Our children have told me that when small, whenever I spoke firmly they would look to see if there was a twinkle around my eyes. If not, they knew of a certainty I meant what I said.

At the end of the session take notice of them as they are going out, speak kindly to them, make remarks to the tiny ones about their new coats or suits. Let the older ones know you are interested in them, and be on the look out for impressions made on the oldest scholars.

Children should be informed when they join the school that they are required to be in subjection to its rule and that obedience is the condition of their being received and retained as scholars.

Opening promptly on time and closing before the hour should be rigidly observed. At the commencement do not keep ringing the bell. One ring should be enough to command attention. Remember the old saying: “Familiarity breeds contempt,” constant ringing of the bell becomes so common that children pay no heed to it.

Loud talking, reading and repeating of lessons is a great annoyance to the next class, and might often be better controlled. Scholars have been observed talking during lessons and the teacher apparently taking no notice. During the time of lessons no talking among scholars should be permitted, nor should teachers gossip with any to the neglect of others.

Wherever you find a teacher truly devoted and in love with the work, putting wholeheartedness into it, you will invariably find a good class, and there too will real fruit be found.

No teacher should be absent from his or her class unless through sickness or some unusual happening without giving due notice to the Superintendent, so that the place may be properly filled. If a teacher habitually absents himself without satisfactory reasons, he should be respectfully told that it would be of benefit to the class to give it up.

Some teachers have been known to be absent for no better reason than going to hear some favourite preacher or going out with friends. No class can long exist under such conditions. It will either melt away or become demoralized.

There are times when one devoted teacher who keeps good order may be called away without opportunity of giving due notice. That of course is another matter.

Uncalled and unfit persons sometimes find their way into Sunday School work, and it is a mercy for all concerned when they discover their mistake, and take their departure.

Never manifest partiality for certain scholars or have “pets” in your class. Attentive and interesting children may and do have one’s special attention, and the spiritual conditions of others will draw out prayer and effort. Even then it should be studied so as not to cause jealousy or ill-feeling in the class. Many a good class has been spoiled through this.

Sometimes we have difficulty with older boys and girls when they come to the age of sixteen or thereabout, wanting to leave the school. Boys especially, often manifest a spirit of lawlessness. A suitable teacher, having their respect and confidence, should be encouraged to take such a class — one who is able to bring the truth intelligently before them. The right teacher and suitable lessons are the chief factors, and should receive first attention.

A teacher needs to be an example as well as an instructor of the Word. His influence will be very great on those who see and hear.

Order and discipline does not ensure spiritual blessing, but it at least hinders human nature from withering up what God gives, and prevents Satan from hindering the Word of God taking effect.

Spiritual power is connected with our hold on God. Success in Sunday School work is connected with our hold on the children. Both are needed, and each has its place.