When children feel disappointed and upset, we listen and comfort. If the child also believes in God, how can we bring God into the situation? Their attitude might become more hopeful and calm as they trust that God’s unfailing love is one thing they can always count on no matter how upsetting the circumstances.
Main idea: When you feel upset, use your faith to keep trusting that God loves you and watches over you and all that concerns you.
Meditation: We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield…May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
Let’s talk: Tell about a time this past week when you clearly told God what was upsetting you. How did you experience God’s love for you afterwards?
A way to develop a child’s spiritual life and faith is found in opening yourself up to their world, in asking them questions, sharing your views, and listening to theirs. You may discover that spiritual topics are of more importance to children and teens than many of us realize. try out the question below. A four-year-old will be able to answer but so will a teen or adult.
Main idea: God knows all the facts about any subject you can imagine.
Meditation: “God is greater than [your] heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20
Let’s talk: What do you wish you could ask God?
Assume that children have some sort of connection with God. A friend overheard an exchange between his young son and a neighbor boy. They were talking about praying. The boy said, “I pray in my bed but I don’t tell my parents about it because they don’t pray.”
There can be benefits to including spiritual conversations in everyday life. Maybe not literally every day. Just often enough to impress that spirituality is worth talking about.
Main idea: When you understand that God actually listens when you talk to him, you’ll find that God is a loyal friend.
Meditation: God said, “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
Let’s talk: When did you talk to God lately? How did that feel?
Here’s another idea for anyone who sees the importance of nurturing a child’s spiritual development. It’s short, to-the-point. And so is this post.
This is the first of a series. We will offer a question that gives opportunity for an adult and child or teen to have a conversation of a spiritual nature. Not often. Just often enough to impress that our spirituality is worth talking about.
Please make a comment or offer other ideas for questions. We value your input.
Main idea: You can put complete trust in God’s intention to bless you, not harm you.
Meditation: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Let’s talk: In the past week, how did you experience God’s comfort or nearness?
I got into my hot car after the final stop of my morning errands. A foul-up at the self-checkout was going to make me late for a lunch date. I hate being late and I lost my composure as I drove to meet my friend and her 11-year-old granddaughter for lunch and a movie. I rolled through a Stop sign as I turned right. I drove above the speed limit. I changed lanes more often than I should, to save—what? a few seconds?
As I got out of my car in the restaurant’s parking lot, an older man driving a white pickup truck pulled up near me.
“Where did you learn to drive??!!” He raised his voice, “that was some reckless driving!!! You better be careful.” And then he drove away.
No profanity. No name-calling. Something bothered him. Could it be that he followed me because he was actually concerned about me and/or the other people driving around me? That’s what I chose to believe, and I took his warning to heart.
“Our character is not like a statue. It is more like an unfinished story.”
That’s a quote from Lewis Smedes, and he went on to say: “To speak of character is to admit that there is a thing called humankind. We are not simply a huge collection of individuals, each one of his and her own kind. There is a kind of person we all are meant to be. There are some human qualities that God intends every individual member of his great family to share.
“There is a universal moral pattern, a shared character, an image of God, that is meant to filter through the private windows of all of us unique individuals.”
With steady perseverance we keep coming back, again and again, to allow the image of God to shine brighter in our own lives.
Tweetable: With steady perseverance, keep coming back to your focus on self-control in action. I lost focus and a gruff but kindly stranger taught me a lesson. Click to Tweet
How do we become much more intentional and specific about the kinds of relationships kids need at home, at school, and in other places they spend time? In attempting to bring insight to this question, Search Institute proposes five essential actions in a family’s developmental relationships. A majority of families with children ages 3 to 13 in this study, want help with how to “share power,” one of the five essential actions.
These young people are saying to their parents and adult relatives: Hear my voice and let me share in making a decision.
A family’s reservoir of relational power
The following ideas from Search Institute illustrate “that families share power through the everyday ways they interact with, care for, and invest in their relationships together”:
- “Respect the child’s opinions, even when you disagree.
- When you’re in a disagreement, take time to understand each other’s point of view.
- Be open to changing your opinions on important topics based on what you learn from the child.
- When the child doesn’t understand what you’re trying to teach, try to show her or him in a different way.
- Create something new together that neither of you has done before. Options could include devising a new recipe, building something, painting a picture, or creating a piece of music.
- Develop new interests based on things you learn from the child.
- The next time the child comes to you about a large or small problem, don’t provide the answers or solve the problem. Instead, say something like, “Let’s see what you can do,” and then ask the child to find solutions with your guidance.”
I like this one
One way I share power with kids is to provide them with two positive choices and they make their decision without interference. For example, with a preschool child at the park, I’ve said, “It’s time to go home now. We can walk to the car through the picnic area or we can walk around the swing set. Which is best for you?” With older kids I might offer two different, parent-approved snacks to choose from.
What works in your family?
Tweetable: Sharing power within a family is not easy to navigate. Evaluate your family against these seven actions as you interact with, care for, and invest in your relationships together. Click to Tweet