Children and teens experience a lot of different emotions during the course of an average day. Because of their lack of life experiences, these emotions are often more heightened than those an adult might feel in a similar situation. Younger children and those with special needs may also struggle to understand the complexity of feelings that are actually a combination of several emotions.
Emotions in and of themselves are not sinful. The Bible does teach that emotions can encourage us to make choices that are unwise or even sinful. Young people who struggle with self control and impulse control will find stopping to process emotions and examine possible options before speaking or doing anything extremely difficult. In addition, many young people depend upon their emotions to make decisions – not always the best tool for sifting through options.
Bible classes for children and teens need to include more time discussing the role of emotions in the Christian life. How should the Christian behave when emotions are stirred? Should wise decision making include one’s emotions? Which people in the Bible made decisions based on their emotions and how did those decisions work out for them?
Want a great activity to get the discussion going? Find one of those fun charts with faces expressing different emotions (there are tons of cute ones online you can purchase or even print). As Bible students enter the room, ask them to point to all of the emotions they are feeling that day. Not only can this give them some framework as you talk about how emotions impacted the decision making of the people in the Bible story, it can also give you an idea of any students who are really struggling emotionally. Taking the time to include emotions in Bible class can give students who need it the extra spiritual and emotional support when they are struggling and help all of your students make wiser, more godly choices.