Teaching students about relationships: The Jesus Model

October 10, 2016 , In: TEACH

It’s been five months since I watched the TED Talk by Robert Waldinger on the Harvard 75-year study on happiness. The findings only affirm what I believe each of us know: close, quality and stable relationships lead to a happier and healthier life.

If relationships are what will keep students in good stead through life, are we teaching them the skills they need to develop and nurture relationships?

Are we modelling the necessary skills or are we giving them a transactional view of if-you-do-this-I’ll-give-you-that?

How should we teach students about relationships? There is a lot to unpack to satisfactorily answer this question. What I write today is just the start but looking at the Perfect Example, it is the best beginning.

Relationships 101: The Jesus Model

1. Pray.

Jesus prayed. Let’s teach our students that praying for others is an important part of relationships. In John Chapter 17, Jesus prayed that His followers would be of one mind. In His prayers, Jesus also praised God. Having an attitude of gratefulness sets us up to appreciate the people God has placed in our lives.

2. Make time for others.

Jesus stopped to help and heal – even when He was already to on his way to help someone else. Remember the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ cloak? It amazes me to think that Jesus was already on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter when He encounters the woman. Jairus’ only daughter was dying. Yet, Jesus stopped to recognise and speak to this woman who also needed Him, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace’.

Jesus always made time for all who needed Him and came to Him. Let’s ask God for His grace that we may daily model this love to our students.

Jesus always made time for all who needed Him and came to Him.

3. Tell the truth out of love.

Jesus corrected His disciples. ‘O you of little faith’ were His words as His followers feared for their life in a storm and ‘Whoever humbles Himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ was his lesson to them when they were arguing about who was the best in the group. Having strong relationships entails being able to tell each other the truth out of love, with the other person’s well being in mind.

4. Put others first.

Jesus sacrificed for us. One of the most popular verses is John 3:16 but do you know what 1 John 3:16 says? I didn’t until a good friend challenged me.

‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.’ 


This is a tough call but it is a command.

How do we lay down our lives for others? How do we put others first? Let us learn to listen for a start. Let us relinquish our need to always be first and most important.

5. Know God’s love.

Jesus relied on His Heavenly Father. He knew what His purpose was and He was secure in God’s love for Him. Let’s teach our students about this Lord who loves them more than they can ever imagine. When this truth sinks in, insecurities can fade and fears can fly. It is humbling to know the depth of God’s love as demonstrated in the Cross of Christ. If God has forgiven and saved us, how can we not forgive, love and understand others?


I pray that we may daily model and teach these truths about Jesus to our children. He is the foundation of every good and lasting relationship.



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Rachel Herweynen

Teaching Principal

Alive because of Jesus. My husband Cameron and I have the privilege of living and working in a remote indigenous community, our home, Gäwa on Elcho Island, Australia. What a joy to not only be principal and teacher but also granddaughter, mother, aunty, child and mother-in-law. Above all, always daughter of the King.

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