How to Teach Kids to Be Inclusive
We’ve all felt left out or out of place…maybe we were eating alone in the corner of the lunch room or in a meeting where we’re the only one who doesn’t know everyone. And we all know it’s uncomfortable to say the least! Kyle leads us in the why and how to point our kids to include others this school year.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:46-48
Being included is a big deal, and whether that is a kid at camp, a freshman at a new school, or maybe it’s in whatever walk of life God currently has you in, being excluded simply isn’t fun. We have all been there.
Are we the ones who are supposed to include that individual in the corner? Do we really have to step out of our comfort zone to help the one who isn’t being included?
At camp, we call this our stretch zone, and we think Jesus would approve! Let’s look at a few examples of how Jesus stepped outside of the norm and changed the day for those who weren’t included.
- Misfits – Luke gives us multiple examples of Jesus hanging out with the misfits, the uncool, and the unclean. If we were to read through Luke we wouldn’t catch a break on this tough subject. Not including others is something we cannot pass off. Jesus breaks social norms and shatters the idea of only hanging out with the cool! In Chapter 5 Jesus attends a banquet, dining with tax collectors and sinners! In Chapter 7 He takes it a step further and stays at the chief tax collector’s (Zacchaeus) house, and is called “a friend of sinners”. Jesus came to include and love, even the unwanted.
- The other crowd – The Samaritans, sometimes referred to as the “Half Jews”, were not liked, in fact they were hated! For a Jew to hang out with a Samaritan would be like a Longhorn fan hanging out with the most obnoxious Aggie fan you can think of! Hanging out with what the others see as the enemy isn’t cool, but once again we see Jesus break down the barriers of “cool” with inclusion as He loves those who are tough to love!
- He chose who?! – Those closest to Jesus were chosen, but not because they were good looking, rich, popular, athletic, smart, hip, or “in”. Instead Jesus chose to bring along side of Him those who were dirty, uneducated, poor, and willing. Jesus not only hung out with the outcasts and sinners, but even became a close friend and like a brother. Being inclusive towards others and making sure our kids see this and do the same is an action our Lord would approve!
Being inclusive is a choice, an action that has the power to either destroy or make someone’s day! Will we choose to act as Jesus did? Will you stretch yourself for others and for Him?
When have you felt left out? How did that make you feel? How can you help others feel included and loved, just like Jesus did!?