More Can be Accomplished with Integration
There were times where I gave up. In my idealistic thinking, I envisioned the integration various objectives that could be implemented at the same time while teaching physical education. I resigned myself to a compartmentalized approach and had students make lines and simply run a straight line for 40 yards, then repeat it again. Other times I had them just run some laps around a field. What’s wrong with any of this? Nothing is wrong with it, but so much more could be done while conditioning. What do I mean that so much more could be done? I mean skills, lots of skills and concepts can be integrated with conditioning so that skill development and conditioning can be accomplished at the same time. Integration is a wonderful idea and can be wonderfully effective. But there has to be buy in.
Integration Requires Buy In
To my dismay, integration of conditioning and skills is a difficult idea to teach to older students who are not familiar with the idea. They want to count laps, or run straight and maybe outrun someone running next to them. If skill work is being done, they would rather just work on the skill and do one thing at a time rather than to mix skill work with conditioning, even though most games require the integration of skills and physical condition together. The integration of skills and conditioning together works much better if you start students out with the idea in kindergarten and first grade, and then reinforce this method as they progress through the grades.
Eventually, as students develop, there are loads of running and footwork skills that can be used to teach footwork while developing their fitness level at the same time. In addition, these moving and footwork patterns can easily be combined with variations of dribbling, passing, catching, and dodging activities, while also requiring the ability to read a given situation and respond to it with appropriate reactive and decision making and skills. The advantage to this is that much more is accomplished than just doing one thing at a time. It also has the advantage over just playing a game as drills can be developed that zero in on designated skills. The skill can be refined and sufficient repetition is provided in order to reinforce and accelerate learning. The intended result is for much more to be accomplished within a given amount of time. It works far better when students are taught this way from an early age. If you start teaching integrated concepts too an older student who is not familiar with the idea, they can’t find the purpose in it, nor have they been through a process where they have had the time to see the fruit of improvement that comes from consistent application of this method.
Integrating Faith into all of Life
Does this emphasis on the effectiveness of integration have application to spiritual matters? I think it has huge application. We can consider the 120 praying in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them. The result was a faith that transferred into all of life, not just religious settings. Religious settings are not necessarily bad, and are often good, but there’s more. After the day of Pentecost, Christians had the ability to love enemies. They had the boldness to maintain a strong witness for Christ regardless of opposition, the power to win souls and minister outside of a religious settings, the ability to do miracles and heal others, and the ability to build a growing, loving community of believers that that others took note of. The results of the prayer times that the early church engaged in spilled over in an integrated fashion into the rest of life. They weren’t so holy that they quit participating in life, but their holiness showed up in everything they participated in. This is something that we can all improve in.
We can start out integrating God into more of our daily lives with basic things such as, how often we think about God. If I realize in my own life that it is not often, I need to develop an awareness that God’s presence is always with me. Notice I didn’t say develop a knowledge of God’s presence, but an awareness of God’s presence. I may have a mental knowledge that God is with me, but that knowledge can be stored away at a low level of consciousness. For example, Jimmy may be an acquaintance of mine who lives a mile down the road. I may know where he lives, but rarely ever think about Jimmy. I have a low awareness of him. In contrast, Sam is my best friend. He constantly pops up in my mind and there are all kinds of things that trigger my mind to think about him. I have knowledge of both Jimmy and Sam, but my awareness of Sam is at a much deeper level, which means I have integrated him into my life to a greater degree than Jimmy.
Integration of Faith is Best when it is Practiced Early
To some people, the integration of faith into their total life seems silly because they have seen it compartmentalized for so long; just like the integration of skills and conditioning seems silly to those who aren’t taught an integrated perspective. When a Christian learns to integrate their faith either early in their life, or early in their salvation experience, they buy into it a lot better than if their experience has taught them that it is normal to compartmentalize their faith.
At this point, think for a moment. Are there Godly people that you are close to and you are attracted to them because of their Godliness? Chances are, they have learned to integrate their faith into their lives so that it goes beyond isolated places and times. Instead, their love and faith has reached into your life. Their faith is real and you can feel it. “Dear Lord help us not to assign our faith in you to a certain time or place. Give us the strength, the boldness, and the willingness, to be a Christian all of the time, not just when it is convenient. Help us not to equate our faith as religious activities that are only reserved for certain times and places in order to delude ourselves into believing that it is a sufficient way to draw close to you. Help our relationship with you to be real; all day long, everywhere we go. May your light shine though us that others may see it and glorify our Father in heaven. Amen.”