Developing a Teachable Spirit

Developing_Teachable_SpiritA child who lacks a teachable spirit can be a challenge. It can be quite frustrating to attempt correction and improvement in an area, only to have our child dislike our endeavors. Hurt feelings, pride, and sometimes anger soon ruin what could have been a wonderful learning opportunity. It is important our children be able to receive instruction, with the right attitude of heart and mind. How do we remove this blockade and develop a teachable spirit?

Developing a teachable spirit isn’t always easy and it takes time. We first need to identify the root of the problem before we can find a solution. The most common reason for lacking a teachable spirit… pride! No one likes to be told they’re wrong or that there is an area which needs improvement. Why would we expect children to be any different? Knowing why our children are struggling in this area better helps us to remedy the situation.

We most certainly don’t have it down pat in our house, but I believe there are several ways in which to establish this principle:

  • Parental Modeling: When, as parents, we are open about our own needs for improvement, we lead by example. Don’t be afraid of sharing with your children your own areas of improvement and how others have helped you become better.
  • Biblical Models: Make sure to point out examples of Biblical leaders who had teachable spirits. (Moses took advice from Jethro; Joshua from Moses; and so on.) Seeing these important spiritual men as not just leaders, but students, will help them understand the wisdom in learning from others.
  • Historical Models: Add to those men of the Bible, other people who have made an impact on the world. Share not only their triumphs, but also the lessons learned from mentors and teachers.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Fail: Encourage your children to view mistakes not as failure, but as a means of learning. Just because you didn’t get it right, doesn’t mean a valuable lesson hasn’t been learned. Accept the fact that it didn’t get done right this time, but assure them they learned a good lesson and will be able to move forward.
  • Lots and Lots of Prayer: While doing all of the above, do a lot of praying on your child’s behalf. Ask the Lord to work not only in their hearts, but in yours; showing you ways in which to reach out and help them learn this important concept.

May I share a personal thought?  It ought to be noted that sometimes our children struggle with this area due to lack of parental respect. If this is the case, we might consider taking a break from book work to recapture our child’s heart. I find that when the ties between us are strong, the rest flows along nicely.

When our children struggle with having a teachable spirit it can make our learning day, and life in general, quite challenging. Before moving on with academics, the attitude of our hearts needs to be dealt with first. When a child possesses a teachable spirit, learning is a joy and a pleasure for all!

We’re curious… What advice would you give to the parent of a child struggling in this area?

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
I Peter 5:5

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5 thoughts on “Developing a Teachable Spirit

  1. Good tips! It really depends on the situation. Sometimes a break is in order. Making sure physical needs (like food or rest) are provided for. But if it’s a more long-term issue, I find it helpful to ask questions to guide them to think through the issue themselves. Sometimes we both learn something. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt this was true of my son and this year he seems to have a different spirit. I’m not sure what changed…but mostly I think it was developmental. While I did switch things about a bit with our schedule, I mostly feel he’s just more ready for ‘school’ then he was before. Sometimes we push too hard to have structured education before the child is ready for it.

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  3. Excellent points! Many of us struggle with is our natural dislike of conflict. We want to preserve our child’s warm and fuzzy feelings toward us, so it’s difficult to deal with their areas of weakness, because we want to preserve their happiness with us. We have to do it anyway, whether it rocks the boat or not.

    You brought up prayer, and that is so important — really the most powerful tool we have in fixing these things. And I would say perseverance is also essential — because it is hard work to help them gradually overcome the areas where they fall short.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Correction without grace, kills morale. Correction with grace, beings morale to life. We recently had a situation where our eldest daughters modern history marker was borderline abusive, because her paper did not answer the question about Marxism, the way the teacher wanted it to be answered. This teacher has been consistently negative and provides no instruction on how to improve. That’s not what a teacher does. It’s what someone trying to indoctrinate others does. They use fear and confusion in order to intimidate. Since we have to outsource the syllabus for my daughter to sit her high school diploma, it’s been easy for us to balance that out. It’s taught me a lot more about the importance of grace in correcting others as a teacher. Stuff I already knew, but am able to witness and put into practice, making it more something I (we) can own and testify to, because we’ve persevered through it.

    Liked by 1 person

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