“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity” (Proverbs 21:23).
Lesson Goal: To help students understand that what they say and how they say it can prevent or cause conflict.
Lesson Objectives: By God’s grace students will learn:
1. Why communication is important.
2. The difference between verbal and non-verbal communication. 3. What to communicate.
4. How to communicate effectively.
Key Principle: Think before you speak.
Begin With Prayer
Begin the lesson with prayer that your students will learn to prevent conflict by communicating to others in a respectful way. As you discuss the principles in this lesson, remember to encourage and praise appropriate responses to questions.
Review and Setting the Stage
• Can you remember what the stay plan is? (Stop, Think, Act, Yea!) • Have any of you used the stay plan to alter your choices? How? • What kind of choice is it to use the stay plan? (A wise-way choice.)
Today we are going to begin to study another wise-way choice: how to prevent conflict by communicating in a respectful way. What we say and how we say it will have a great effect on how people listen and respond to us. If we choose to communicate respectfully, it is likely that we will be able to resolve or even prevent conflict and stay on top of the slip zone. We are going to learn interesting and helpful information that can help us communicate more respectfully. You will discover how important it is to think before you speak. Listen to a story about a boy who communicated his thoughts and feelings to his family. Be prepared to tell me if you think his communication helped to improve the situation.
Buntheoun’s family has two cows, and he is responsible for taking them out to the field every day to let them graze. On this particular day, it was raining harder than usual, and Buntheoun dreaded going out into the rain and getting soaked. He wasn’t feeling well either, and really wanted to take a nap instead. “I don’t want to take the cows out today,” he thought to himself. “Why do I have to do it all the time, anyway? Vuthor and Sokha are perfectly capable of doing it also, especially because they’re older than me.”
With that thought, he went over to where his brothers were sitting. “Hey, why don’t you take the cows out today? I think you should do it.”
“No way, Buntheoun,” they replied. “Go away.”
Buntheoun started feeling angry because they didn’t do what he asked. Couldn’t they see that he wasn’t feeling well? So he went over to his father, complaining, “Dad, I don’t want to take the cows out. I think you should do it. It’s raining and I’m weak. Do you know how difficult it is for me to take the cows to the field on rainy days? Since you’re bigger and older, you should take the cows out.” After listening to him complain like that, Buntheoun’s father’s frowned deeply, and Buntheoun could tell that he was upset. Seeing his father’s angry face, he turned and ran as fast as he could. The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1). • Did Buntheoun’s way of communicating his thoughts and feelings to his brothers and father prevent or stir up conflict? Did he improve the situation or make it worse? (The way Buntheoun chose to communicate stirred up conflict.) That’s right. Buntheoun communicated his thoughts and feelings in a manner that got him into trouble. Instead of being heard and understood, he was ignored and probably punished.
Has something like this ever happened to you? If it has, then you, like Carlos, need to learn a better way to communicate so that others will be more likely to listen to you and understand you. You need to learn to think before you speak. Let’s talk about the what, why, and how of effective communication that pleases Jesus.