Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Underestimate Children

In addition to writing this blog about children's ministry, I also write a "grandma blog" -
grandma's cookie jar. Yesterday I wrote about my grandson Josiah who just turned six - he is a really fun six year old! One thing he likes to do is to read. Yes, I said he likes to read! Not only does he like to read, but he is actually shocking his aunt with how good of a reader he is! The other day we were celebrating because his daddy has earned his Master Mechanic Certification and my parents gave Dave a card. On the card was the word, "Congratulations!" Josiah picked the card up and read the word - on his own with no help.

Okay, yes, writing about this was a moment of pure, "grandma bragging", but aside from making me feel very proud and happy with him - it caused me to think about how often do we "underestimate" children and think they are too young to try something, learn something, or do something. How often do we "dumb" things down for them? Josiah has always had a large vocabulary - filled with words with lots of letters! He not only uses these big words (leaving his teachers shocked), but he understands what they mean so he uses them correctly. This is due in part because his parents - and we - speak to him as an intelligent person. We did not use, "baby talk" with him. Plus, they and we have always read lots of books to him. I guess it should not be a huge surprise for him to take to reading so quickly!

So, in regards to children in our children's ministries, while preschool is foundational as young children learn the Bible Adventures, elementary children should be challenged to go deeper. Let's help them learn how to use a concordance, how to research and discover what God's Word says - and what it means to their own lives! We need to challenge the children in our churches! Treat them as intelligent people who are fully capable of learning and understanding many things! It is true - children do live up - or down - to our expectations! Now there are certainly exceptions where some children have physical and/or learning challenges, but lets be people who encourage the children in our ministries to truly learn God's Word and then celebrate as they do!

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