1 Thessalonians 5:14 — Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs (MSG).

Sometimes it’s just easier to lump everything and everyone together, treating all things and people the same. Here, though, we are instructed to be patient with each other and attend to individual needs.

As a teacher, this is what we call differentiation. It’s how we teach each student at his or her level and pace. Some students need more support than others, while others need a little nudge to go to the next level. Either way, I have to look at each student as an individual rather than at all of them as one class.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Students also need to be a part of a whole group, in order to build teams and for cooperative learning. But when students are expected to explore new concepts and content, each one must have what will help him or her grow as an individual.

Jesus also approached people as individuals, and He met their needs at the point of their expectations. I challenge you to live and love like Jesus did. Be aware of the needs around you. Be patient with each other, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you meet the individual needs of those you come into contact with today and every day.

Philippians 2:4 — Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too (NLT).

—Heidi Jonker

*For more info and resources, check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker.

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