Three Factors that Shape A Child’s Life

3 02 2012

Wikipedia Image

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.

Motor Development
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.

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Disregarding Children Destroys Your Soul

3 08 2011

Disregarding, demeaning or devaluing children destroys your soul. If you don’t believe me, consider Jesus’ encounter with children in Mark 10:13-16.

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.

Crowds of people were attracted to Jesus. And there was something about him that stirred them to bringing their children to him. Now Jesus was a busy man, and his disciples were protective of their master, not wanting pesky distractions to get in the way of his important work. So naturally, they assumed children couldn’t possibly be on Jesus’ agenda. Wow, were they wrong, or what? Check out Jesus’ response,

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

The word indignant is a feeling of intense displeasure toward what is unjust and insulting. Jesus was personally and gravely insulted. Jesus considered this to be a serious injustice not merely an inadequate way of thinking. God is just. Injustice, or sin, deserves punishment or just consequence. To justify is to clear of guilt and to remove the deserved punishment. When Jesus was indignant, he was essentially showing the severity of what happens when people push children away. Those people are at serious risk of missing the kingdom of God-indeed of losing their soul. To be justified, we must have faith like a child. Jesus then goes on and reinforces just how serious he is,

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

To disregard children is to disregard the heart of God. Children are a reminder to freely cling to our Father. Unless we value children as God does, we won’t have the proper understanding that brings us to eternal joy in the family of God as his beloved children.

If that’s not powerful enough, then include orphaned and destitute children into your thinking. The horrors children face each day is despicable. Even worse is the fact that people everywhere turn a blind eye and do nothing to help. Yes, disregarding children destroys your soul.


Have you blessed a child lately?


Ripple-Effect Decisions

4 06 2010

I had a flashing opportune moment this week. These types of moments come up every now and then. You know, those moments that if you don’t take advantage of quickly you might just lose altogether. I suppose they happen more often then we think or notice. But this one was quite clear to me.

I was just sitting down to lunch at our pastors conference this week. A couple guys I know, but who wouldn’t have a clue who I was, sat down too. Scott Forbes was one of them. In the past he has served with Kids Alive. I couldn’t quite remember where life had taken him recently so I asked. He told those of us at the table that he had joined IJM or International Justice Mission.

Photo from IJM

He went on to tell a few gripping stories about their work of investigating and working with authorities to rid the world of sex trafficking and other forms of abusive slavery. He also told of his daughter who works with their organization in India. As he talked about her, it became clear to me that she has some guts, some passion, some resolve and determination. She pursued course work that led her on this path of seeking social and criminal justice.

This is where the moment came. Read the rest of this entry »

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