The Importance of a Name
The most valuable lesson for a Sunday School teacher is the importance of knowing all the children's names.
Not just to say something similar to their name but to pronounce it correctly. I had an advantage, before I was the teacher I was the helper and I did the roll book. So I stepped in as the teacher with most everyone's name memorized and I quickly learned the true value.
Why it is this important:
1. It shows you care
Have you ever been somewhere and a person calls you “honey,” “sweetie,” or such sickening sweet name that is NOT your name? It gives you the feeling of being patronized. You are just one of the crowd and they do not care enough about you as an individual to learn your name.
"How are you to show God's love if you don't care enough to learn their name?"
On the other hand, have you met someone in a position of authority, that sees hundreds of people, but yet they still remember your name? It meant something to you that they knew your name.
It is the same for children. Whether you have a big or little class or a revolving door with bus routes bringing in riders you can show you care about them individually if you know their name. The purpose of being there is to reach these children for Christ. How are you to show them God's love if you don't care enough to learn their name?
The wonder on a child's face when they walk into class and you greet them by name is priceless. They instantly know you care enough about them to try to get their name right and you are glad they came to church.
Think about the fact that the Creator of the Universe KNOWS your name. Billions of people in this world, but yet He knows your name. Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” God loves you as a individual person with individual needs.
2. Easiest Way to Maintain Order
Growing up you knew when mom used your middle name she meant what she said. She got your attention and you had better listen. As the teacher, you don't need their middle name to be effective, but the child does need to know you are talking to them.
"When you say a child's name you instantly have their attention"
If you have a child cutting up or not paying attention – say their name. Don't get loud or mean. In fact, sometimes the quieter the better. When you say a child's name you instantly have their attention. Sometimes their name, eye contact, and a pointed look is all that it takes to settle a child down and maintain order. If you are in the middle of teaching and they are acting up say their name “..., do you know what happened next?” Do your best to capture their attention quietly and efficiently.
This does not always work, but the majority of the time just one word … their name... is all you need.