Every kid needs the gift of delight.
In the story of David, there comes that point when all the boys were lined up as potential for kingship – except David. Jesse didn’t think David would be the one, but Samuel, through the leading of the spirit, asked if there were others. We all fall into that trap now and then – of just not thinking seriously enough about the potential of the children around us, no matter their age or their behavior. Every child needs an adult to believe in them.
Every kid needs the gift of competency.
David was left in charge of the sheep while all the brothers were off fighting in the war. Even at a young age, he was left in charge of the family business. Teach your child something and help them excel in it! Every child needs the gift of being compentent in something. Teach something to them, and teach them to do it well.
Every kid deserves to hear your story about how you came to faith in Christ…
Tell them your story – when you sitting or standing, or walking down the road. Share the story whenever you can – tell it your kids and tell it to other people while your kids are listening. And share with them, in real time, the issues of faith that you are dealing with.
When Jesus was baptized everyone heard a voice come down from heaven. “This is my son with whom I am well pleased, loosly translated, “That’s my boy!”
First and formost, enjoy your children.
It’s been a few years, but we were leading worship for an event where the president (at that time) of Judson College spoke. He had some great thoughts and I just found the notes above from that day.
How Did David Get to be David? Thoughts for Children’s Ministry Leaders
Six Ways Dad’s Help Their Kids Belong
2 thoughts on “Three Things Every Kid Needs”
I’m so tempted to go straight to tearing this piece apart because it represents most of what went wrong with my childhood and beyond. But I’d like to start with something more basic: unconditional love.
Unconditional love is Godly, it’s of God, not man. And when humans practice unconditional love, wonderful things can happen.
I completely agree that “every child needs an adult to believe in them.” But I probably disagree about how people define that. Saying “I believe in you” is easy to do, and easy to forget. What happens when you say that to a child, but down the road your actions say something different to that child? Talk is cheap. I was told all the right things, but nobody invested in me by their deeds.
I completely agree that “every kid needs the gift of competency.” I didn’t need to be taught much because of my curious nature. But I was seldom allowed to demonstrate my competency over anything more than household chores. The few times I was given a chance and didn’t nail it the very first time, that became the eternal excuse for not leaving me in charge ever again. See “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
When it comes to proselytizing, witnessing, whatever you call it, I have no experience in that. I don’t recall ever hearing either of my parents telling their own personal story to me. They were too busy doing “church work” as insiders. The mandatory morning devotions were helpful in the long run, but as a child it resembled rote school work to me. And in my household, school attendance was at the very top of the Mandatory list.
I was sent to religious programs of various sorts, and was proselytized to by strangers. There was strong psychological to comply at all of these events. I tried to be an obedient child, but that couldn’t silence the alarm in my mind that something wasn’t quite right. That alarm went off with regularity, and led me to reject the big-E Evangelist form of small-e evangelism as being the biggest single thing that drove people away from what we called Christianity back then.
About the only advice I can offer is to curb your dogma, and treat children as actual people, not fractional adults, not targets to shoot your policies at, but actual people. I’m no expert at child development, but IME when I deal with children as peers or equals on some level, we tend to get along.
As for proselytizing, my observation is that most of us grossly overestimate how important we are personally when it comes to selling faith, and grossly underestimate the same when it comes to forming lasting negative opinions with others.
I appreciate you reading and engaging. I am also sorry for your negative experience.
I do agree with you that we should treat kids as people. It’s been one of the ways that we have effectively worked with kids groups over the years. We just finished a kids event with about 775 first – fifth graders and leaders and during that event we host each year, I’m always helping our leaders do just that.
I also agree, and am convicted to some degree, that families can get so caught up in “church work” that home faith suffers. It’s a tragedy. But, church work doesn’t always equate with faith and just because parents are heavily involved in church doesn’t mean, necessarily that the kids won’t connect in faith. But it is a great discussion and you bring a point that I know happens, but don’t often get to talk about much.
Lastly, and I’m sure you’ll understand, as a believer, I will always be sharing my faith and have no plans of abandoning the practice of doing so. I believe it’s crucial for parents and families who believe in Christ share it with their kids. And it doesn’t have to be in a sit-down-and-listen format – it needs to be in everyday ways.