How a child develops is a complex wonder. There are so many variables like family history, environment, peers, location and more that play a special role in the formation of a child. Here are three factors you can zone in on and leverage as you train up children to be fantastic citizens and faithful followers of Jesus.
I was intrigued recently with the motor development section of Laura Berk’s book entitled, Development Across the Lifespan, as I am running a games event at my church over March break. It’s been a memorable event that uses a lot of gross-motor skills along with some fine-motor. A few quotes caught my attention:
“[Games with rules]…contribute greatly to emotional and social development.” (296)
“[Child invented games]…permit children to try out different styles of cooperating, competing, winning and losing with little personal risk.” (296)
“…these experiences help children construct more mature concepts of fairness and justice.” (296)
There seems to be a bit of a debate over competition and cooperation in games. I’ve particularly noticed two different approaches from the camps of Group Publishing (Thom and Joani Schultz) and Roger Fields (of Kidz Blitz). On one side, there seem to be the people that avoid competition saying it can hurt self-esteem or cause hurt feelings or create the undesirable feel of winners and losers. On the other side, I find people who would say competition is helpful for building up confidence and that positive attitudes and character development can be learned whether a winner or a loser. I would tend to lean towards a good mix of both. I think a child should not be crushed emotionally because they lost a game, but also that they ought to be taught how to handle difficulties with a right attitude. I also find the connection to justice very intriguing as it seems the evangelical world is talking a lot about social justice these days. I’m feeling some teaching points coming on for the games event! And not only that, but giving kids opportunities to use their bodies promotes healthy living.