One of the core principles discussed in Joy Starts Here is that of helping people see themselves as Immanuel sees them.
I’m a public school teacher, and this is not usually the kind of language we use in our setting. Instead, I find creative ways to help students see themselves through the eyes of God.
One way to do this is to help students get to know themselves and their preferences. I begin by taking my classes to the computer lab where they take three online tests: the Myers-Briggs Personality test, the 5 Love Languages test, and the Character Strengths test. Then I have them share their results in an online discussion forum. After they’ve all shared online, I make our preferences visible in the classroom.
We begin with Myers-Briggs, a test that describes four aspects of personalities: Extrovert and Introverted, Intuitive and Sensing, Thinking and Feeling, and Judging and Perceiving.
We begin by standing in two lines facing each other. Then I have the Introverts step to one side of the room and the Extroverts to the other. I ask them to converse for a few minutes. Their goal is to notice who shares their preference and who has a different preference. We do the same for the other three aspects. We laugh and share “aha” moments as we begin to understand each other in ways we otherwise would not.
The next tool we use is the 5 Love Languages. This approach to understanding personalities focuses on how individuals give and receive love. The five “languages” are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Acts of Service.
I assign sections of the room for each of the 5 Love Languages and ask the students to move into the space that represents their primary love language. Again, we note our preferences and discuss ways we can learn to “speak” each others’ languages.
Reminding Us Who We Are
This learning about ourselves, the way we are designed, helps us understand ourselves better. It also helps us understand each other better. When we connect from a deeper level of knowing one another, we can more fully experience being glad to be together. It also helps us remind each other of who we truly are when we are no longer acting like ourselves.
For example, if Suzy is gossiping and angry and venting, I can remind her that her love language is actually “words of affirmation” and that she is not acting like herself in this moment. I ask Suzy, “What would it be like you to do if you were not so angry right now?” This reminder gently helps Suzy return to her true self, which enables her to return to joy.
This is only one example of the ways that I attempt to help my students see themselves and each other as they were created to be, and it allows me to do it in a public school where I’m not allowed to talk to them about Immanuel.
Seeing Like Immanuel
By helping students learn how to express their preferences, they are taking steps toward understanding how Immanuel sees them.
Being seen for who you truly are is a gift for students and anyone else for that matter. How can you help others feel seen?