If you keep up with trends in society or education, you may have heard about “mindfulness”. For those of you who were kids during the 70’s, you may have associated it with meditation or yoga and many proponents do suggest them as a way to practice mindfulness. As a Bible class teacher though, you may wonder whether disciplines often associated with religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have a place in Bible classes for kids and teens.
Thankfully, modern researchers have included Christian disciplines in some of their research. Studies show prayer, reflecting on scripture and fasting (which usually incorporates highly focused prayer and scripture reflection), produce the same benefits as meditation and yoga. (Meditation is actually also a Christian discipline. See Psalm 1:2, Philippians 4:8 and others for more details.)
Christian mindfulness focuses on what God wants for us and from us. Instead of wallowing in our past mistakes or worrying about possible future problems, God wants us to focus on being His people not just today, but in this very minute. Mindfulness is about analyzing what is working for us and not working for us in our Christian walk. It’s about being aware of the opportunities God is giving us right now to serve Him. Mindfulness is being aware of Satan’s temptations for you today and thinking about what you need to do to avoid them.
Christian mindfulness has a huge benefit over more secular versions. Secular mindfulness is a solitary sport. You focus on yourself, your reality, your strengths and weaknesses. If there are issues, it’s on you to get help and figure out how to grow and move forward.
Christian mindfulness gives God the place He deserves in our lives. He hasn’t thrown scripture at us, told us to pray and then left us hanging. He gave Christians the Holy Spirit and scripture to help us understand what He wants us to do. Yes, the Holy Spirit can be a bit difficult to explain to students, but it is a topic you need to begin to help them understand.
Students whom you have taught to practice Christian mindfulness will be able to be more proactive in their faith. Instead of reacting – often too late – to opportunities to serve God, to grow or to avoid Satan’s traps, your students will be aware and prepared to handle things as they come. They will have less stress and be able to have more focused energy. They may even experience some health benefits. It’s worth taking the time to teach your students about Christian mindfulness.