Friday, February 10, 2012

Words Kids Need to Hear

I've been people watching at my son's basketball practices. Twice a week is just too tempting not to observe. This past week was disturbing. I watched as a mom scowled and interrogated her son for over 30 minutes. I could't hear what she was saying, but I could see it all. Her brow was crinkled, lips pursed, and she had "that look" in her eyes. You know that look us moms can get. By the end of practice, even I was afraid to glance her way. What troubled me was her son's countenance. His face was downcast, shoulders drooped, and eyes sad...pitifully sad.

I have no idea what had happened. For all I know he could have gotten in trouble at school, had a bad attitude, failed a test or worse. I won't judge based on looks, but the whole incident did remind me of a book I read a few years ago called Words Kids Need to Hear by David Staal.

The author argues that kids need to hear things like:
I believe in you.
You can count on me.
I treasure you. (My friend Brandee just wrote about this.)
I'm sorry, please forgive me.
I love you.

God gave us a great example when He said "this is my son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Words are powerful. Words matter. My husband Brian says that all the time.

Today I am practicing the "I will be there for you" as my weak 10 year old lays on the couch recovering from a virus. When he is sick, he wants someone to be with him even if just to sit beside him while he watches TV. Tonight I will have to practice the "I'm sorry, please forgive me" to my other son. I was supposed to get a book for him but forgot because of the 10 year old being sick.

Kids need to feel special and cherished, not because of any skill or physical appearance, but just because they are kids and kids are worth treasuring.

When was the last time you told a child "I believe in you" or "I treasure you"?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One little boy

Today's blur of Sunday activity was slowed down by one little boy. What is it about the boys that tug on my heart? I have an almost 17 year old and 10 year old boy (in addition to an awesome 21 year old daughter). I guess it's just the familiarity of being around them. This one today was praising God as loud as he could with no thought to anyone or anything around him but the words and the music. His worship filled me up just listening, and I happen to think he's very special. I've never met anyone like him. After a tragic fall from a two story window, Eli survived and has become an amazing kid who I am blessed to spend time with some Sundays at my church. If you haven't heard his story, you can read more about it here.

Thanks Eli for being a blessing to me and sharing your joy so effortlessly!
I hope I can be more like you someday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who is That?

I once heard someone say 'it's time to write when you just can't NOT do it anymore.' Over the past several months, I've learned things or said things or experienced things that made me think 'I should blog about that...if I had a blog.' Well that day has come and I have no more excuses. Why? Because I have a passion for reaching kids and people so they can know Jesus!!!

My most recent experience has fueled that passion for both kids and the need to write about how to be more effective in reaching them.

PCC has been offering Dave Ramsey's FPU on Wednesday nights for the past few months. I think almost everyone involved is from PCC but there are a few people who signed up through the Dave Ramsey website. I've had the pleasure of getting to be with the kids each week for this class.

Most weeks we just play and have fun, but last week our conversation (as much conversation as you can have with two, three, and four year olds) turned to God. As the kids were wishing for winter weather, I said that God made snow. Four year old Cole said, "Who is that?" It was one of those moments that takes your breath away and leaves you wishing you had rehearsed something before now. A million thoughts were screaming through my head not the least of which was that this really could be Cole's first introduction to who God is and would hopefully be the beginning of a thirst to learn more about Him. I mean in the world do you explain to a four year old who God is?! I responded and said "He is our Heavenly father and He made the whole world." Then Cole said, "Why did He do that?" "Because He loves us, " I replied. 

The rest of our playtime was uneventful and the kids went on playing. After that encounter I invited the parents to come back on Sunday. They let me know they had been to another church...once. They seemed genuinely interested and asked a few questions. Then, they came! WOOHOO! Go God! I'm praying this will be the beginning of a great spiritual journey for Cole and his family.

Lessons learned:
NEVER waste an opportunity to talk to kids about God. I regret that we have just been playing. Of course I know the last several weeks were not a total loss as I've been able to develop a relationship with the kids (and the parents) in this class.

Always be ready to answer the question, "Who is that?" 1 Peter 3:15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."