I am the oldest girl and the second child of six. This positioned me for a life of children’s ministry. I’ve been directing children since the age of two as pictured above. Naturally, my journey has been full of methods that only frustrated my collective charges. One brother has never forgotten the day I gathered all of my siblings in July to draw names for Christmas. This was the day he drew the line on my having any authority in his life! Another brother to this day introduces me as his bossy big sister. The point of this reminiscing is that playing the role of mentor to a child is a challenge for everyone who takes it on. The Bible has the guide and no other method we come up with on our own will produce Godly character. However, I would like to share that often verses are taken out of context to prove a point. It is also sad when only one verse is used. We must teach children the full message of who God is. The best example of this is the “spare the rod” verse! (Proverbs 13:24) If this is the only verse we quote we portray a negative picture of God. In the demanding world we live in, parents and those working with children must take the time to fill up their children’s hearts and minds with the word of God. In a moment of crisis, we need to be ready to respond to the word. We can’t access the word with our child if it isn’t already sealed in our own hearts. If we are to train our children in the ways of God we must be seeking Him ourselves. Even more interesting is what Jesus says about seeking Him: And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (KJV) A role model by definition trains the child by acting the proper way to be imitated by the child. Do my children see me going to God as a child with anticipation, expectation, faith, respect and obedience? If not, they will be quick to point it out and use it as an excuse not to follow God. Over the years, there are several basic character traits I feel are basic and crucial for children to learn. This is my short list:
- Be a giver and a helper;
- Use kind words in all circumstances;
- Take charge of your own eyes, ears, and mouth;
- Love as God has loved you- not like the world loves;
- Forgive quickly when someone hurts you or does something wrong.
That’s a great list you might say. Where are the scriptures? They are in your concordance or just a Google search away. Seek them out for yourself and you will be motivated to share them with your children or the children you are ministering to. We can only give them what we have experienced ourselves. In teaching them, we all grow together.