5.Teach them about biblical stewardship. Make it clear that the earth and everything in it is part of God's creation (plants, animals, people) and that we show love and obedience to our Creator by treating His creation with love and respect.
God's command in Genesis was for humans to "rule" over the earth as God's stewards, so take time to teach them what it means to be a steward. Explain how creation ultimately belongs to God and that He has trusted us to care for it, just like a king would trust a steward to help with some of his duties.
Most importantly, make it clear that as we are created in God's image, we are to "rule" in His image as well. He should be our model, not worldly rulers who too often use their power selfishly or cruelly. We are to love and care for animals just as God loves and cares for us.
These tips are basic building blocks for teaching respect for animals. Use the above information as a jumping off point, and don't be afraid to try tools and techniques that speak specifically to your children's unique interests and learning styles. Above all, be sure to keep God at the center of your instruction.
Scott Huntington is a writer for the Oxford University Press. He is also a middle school Sunday school teacher with a passion for reaching kids for the gospel.
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