Five Year Old Kids

KINDERGARTEN ASSISTANT

A woman in our Life Group asked if someone could help with her Sunday morning Kindergarten Class. Her usual assistant was dropping off a kid at college.

So I responded, “Sure, I’ll help.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

My duties were basically crowd control. You know, help them stay seated, keep them from getting crazy with their neighbors and make sure nobody got hurt.

The teacher, who is a professional school teacher, was phenomenal. Her teaching skills were impressive. Her ability to engage each child with respect and dignity was effective. She could do a lot with just the sound and tone of her voice.

If I had been the teacher I would have been outwitted, outplayed and outlasted by a bunch of sweet little five year old kids. I was barely getting by with crowd control.

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                          Not our Kindergarten class, not even close, our kids were cuter and smarter.  Maybe I’m just biased. Maybe?

SOME OBSERVATIONS

While making the first letter of their names with Play-Doh one kid asked another:

“Where does Play-Doh come from?” The kid shrugged and said, “I think it’s magic.” 

When asked what they knew about God and his Son:

“I think God and Jesus are basically the same person.” 

“Jesus went to the cross and there were fireworks.” 

When asked, “Can you name something God made that we can see.”

“TV” 

“Kids riding bikes. I saw a picture of it on the wall.” 

The Play-doh kid said, “Play-Doh.”

MY TAKE AWAY’S

They were adorable and smart. One child knew the days of creation, of what happened each day. One named four or five things she learned in school that week. One child wanted to talk and say all kinds of things. Some raised their hands when they wanted to speak or answer a question. I went away blessed to have been there.

I laughed, marveled and thanked God for such precious people. They were obviously from loving families who are talking about God in their homes. It was so sweet.

I think I’ll go back next week!

A Child’s Five Questions

FIVE QUESTIONS

At this year’s Orange Conference in Atlanta I heard Kristen Ivey talk about the five questions a child needs an adult to answer in order to trust them.

  1. Do you know my name?
  2. Do you know where I live?
  3. Do you know what matters to me?
  4. Do you what I have done?
  5. Do you know what I can do?

It makes sense doesn’t it? Before extending trust to an adult a child needs to know the adult understands who they are, that the adult has a sense of what matters to them.

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When I think about it, the five questions work pretty well for me too.

  1. I’m flattered when someone takes the trouble to learn my name.
  2. Not my home address, but aware of something that’s going on in my life.
  3. I instantly like a person who understands what’s important to me.
  4. The person who has some sense of my history will sooner earn my trust.
  5. The person aware of my abilities and achievements gets my attention.

These questions make it personal for the one who is asking and for the one who is answering. If a child asks and I know the answers, then the child will more readily view me as a friend. It isn’t easy because it’s a lot to know, and will take effort and intentional interest.

I like seeing Jesus reaching out to people. Take Zacchaeus for example, it’s Jesus making an effort with intentional interest. It’s Jesus getting personal.

DO YOU KNOW MY NAME? Jesus looked up and called him by name.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE I LIVE? He wanted to go to Zach’s house for the day.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT MATTERS TO ME? Jesus knew money was important to him.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE DONE? Jesus knew he collected taxes for Rome.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO? Jesus knew Zach would trade extraordinary greed with extraordinary generosity.

AND US TODAY?

How does Jesus get personal with us? Does he know who we are, does he know our name and what’s happening in our lives, a sense of “where we live” or “Where we are at?”

In my next blog I’ll write about some ways that God gets personal with us.

TO CLOSE

Jesus spent most of his time with huge crowds. But he often reached out to individuals and did something to change their lives. It’s how Jesus made it personal.

On his way to the cross to save everyone he often stopped to save someone.   

Well Equipped Kids, Backpacks, Pt. 2

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An unthinkable thought: to send a child to school without a well equipped backpack!

Yesterday I blogged about the ubiquitous back pack, primarily worn on the backs of school children everywhere. Inside is everything a child needs to succeed at school.

Here is the supply list for preschoolers and kindergarteners:

  • backpack
  • lunchbag
  • Number 2 pencils
  • Handheld pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • 5 inch blunt scissors
  • Glue stick
  • 4 ounce glue
  • Tape
  • Crayons
  • Crayon sharpener
  • Colored pencils
  • Watercolor paint
  • Folders
  • Tissue
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Wide ruled notebook/pad

Uh HuH, Wow!

kid fallen from back pack
Bless his heart, he’s fallen and he can’t get up!

 

Here is the list for a middle schooler:

  • Pencil pouch
  • Blue or black ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Highlighters
  • Permanent markers
  • Erasers
  • Three-ring binder
  • Three-hole-punch
  • Loose-leaf paper or spiral notebooks
  • Graph paper
  • Subject dividers
  • Index cards
  • Plastic folders
  • Glue
  • Post-its
  • White-Out
  • Protractor
  • Ruler
  • scissors
  • Graphing calculator
  • Combination lock
  • Personal organizer/calendar
  • Book socks
  • Backpack
  • Lunchbox or bag

Are You Kidding Me?

The amount of things it takes to succeed in school has grown since I was a boy.

 

Here’s a Thought

No decent parent would send their child to school without everything needed to succeed. It would be unthinkable, unimaginable and it wouldn’t happen.

 

Here’s Another Thought

 The backpack has everything a kid needs to succeed academically.

But what about spiritually?

If your child had a spiritual backpack, a God-Pack, what would be inside? What does a child need to succeed in school spiritually? The fruit of the Spirit?

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

Would their spiritual backpacks have courage, wisdom, strength, and confidence from God? Perhaps a healthy dose of self-respect and respect for others? How about honesty, integrity and good character?

I know. It’s easy to go to a store and buy everything a child needs for school, along with a backpack to carry it.

It’s harder to fill their hearts with the shield of faith to protect them from the sharply pointed attacks sure to come their way. It’s easier not to, but far more risky.

In Closing

No good parent would send their child to school without everything they need to succeed academically. Does a good parent send their child to school without everything they need to succeed spiritually?

Just a thought

shalom

 

A Dark Day

It’s will be a dark day for Americans.

A Key Report

The Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting takes place on Sunday. A study will be presented reporting that the number of children and teens who have been hospitalized for suicidal attempts has doubled in the last decade.

The data was collected from 32 Children’s hospitals in the US. Those studied were between 5 and 17 years old. Children ages 5-11 represented 13% of the study. The largest uptick was seen among teen girls. 

The CDC reports that suicides for girls has tripled between 1999 and 2014, with girls age 12-14 representing the largest increase.

Causes & Indicators

Dr. Gregory Plemmons, of Vanderbilt University, will present the study. From the report, Dr. Plemmons will offer the following indicators and causes for the rise of children and teens with suicidal thoughts and actions:

  1. Family history of suicides
  2. Family history of depression
  3. Domestic violence
  4. Child abuse
  5. Gay and lesbian youth
  6. History of bullying, especially cyber-bullying
  7. Social media

The report also mentions, “Girls are entering puberty about a year earlier than they historically have, and puberty itself is a risk factor for suicide.”

One source mentioned, “The number of girls between 10 and 12 who have gotten pregnant and delivered babies is staggering.”

Coping Skills

Dr. Avital K. Cohen, a licensed psychologist, believes today’s kids and teens lack the necessary coping skills. “Many parents try to protect their children from experiencing failure when they are young; thus, when they experience it later in life, they may not have developed the resources and/or coping skills they need to manage it.”

The More Abundant Life

Jesus offered it to everyone. But not everyone believes, or searches for it, or even wants it. His version of the abundant life had nothing to do with economic benefit, vast arrays of entertainment, or the headlong pursuit of happiness through consumerism.

We are reaping the fruit of a decaying morality, of pushing faith out of schools, and of a pluralistic society that champions choice without moral consequence.

To Close

There are reasons, and many of them, to be joyful today, to have a happy Saturday. Yours can be a heart of praise and a voice that lifts up the glory of God. You can do what matters most today.

I believe it’s never been more important to be a good parent.

God bless you.

Annihilated by Pre-Schoolers

It was a Color War, but it wasn’t about race or culture.

A Color War?

A Color War is a bunch of people in a field, organized by teams, with big pans of colored powder. We filled a paper cup with our team’s powder and tossed it on the other teams, then refilled our cups and so on. One rule: don’t throw the whole cup of powder, just a little at a time.

The whistle blew and it was so on.

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It was good for about a minute, then it descended into mayhem. I don’t know who threw the first whole cup, but a whole cup was thrown, and then it was madness. Chaos reigned.

By all accounts, I lost, and lost catastrophically.

At one point, there was an all-out blitz on Mr. Rick. It was open season on the preacher. It was a a free shot at the old guy. And they did, they so did.

Camp?

Yep, I was at Camp United, a weekend event for families put on by our church. The Color War was one of many activities, and they were all good, but the Color War was special.

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I Loved It

When it was over, I had blue powder in my beard, yellow powder in my hair, and my clothes looked like a paint factory had blown up. But I loved it. I had so much fun playing with the kids.

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They ranged from pre-school to high school, and most of their parents played too. But the youngest ones were my favorite. They threw powder on me, then giggled and ran off. I chased them and then they turned and threw some more. It was marvelous.

To Close

When it was over, I couldn’t help but marvel at all those kids. And was reminded of how much Jesus loved children. I think I know why. It’s the innocence, the love freely given, and the easy smiles and quick laughter.

I have a few close friends, and many casual friends and hundreds of acquaintances. But the older I get, the more I appreciate the stunning value of a sweet child.

I can’t wait for next year!

Choosing Children

OPENING THOUGHT

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

kids

SOME PERSPECTIVE

I’m able to write this blog because Paul and Doris got married. They chose to have children and had three sons in five years. We were the result of their marriage, but my sister was wasn’t. She was specifically chosen from among hundreds of Vietnamese orphans, in South Viet Nam, 48 years ago. 

Haiti has 760 orphanages housing 32,000 children. Could they be adopted? Probably not since most of them aren’t really orphans. At least 80% of them have at least one living parent. Why is this? Because Haitian couples have too many kids and too little money. 

IS THIS BLOG ABOUT ADOPTION?

I’m not writing about adopting children but about our choosing them, preferring them. 

CHOOSING CHILDREN

Jesus chose children, he preferred them to their parents. I think the kids were more fun.

At church, children will come up to hug me. Sometimes they want to sit and talk about school, or a game, or something they’re excited about. Sometimes they sit with us during worship services.

Like Jesus, I find the children to be more fun than their parents. 

It’s awkward when adults are talking with me and kids come up to see me. I usually stop and engage with them. I think the adults get a little annoyed, but I don’t mind. Jesus chose the children; and that’s a good example for me. 

We were recently invited to attend a family birthday lunch. Their daughter was turning ten! The Mom uselessly told me not to get a present. Are you kidding me? I was either bringing a great gift or a card full of cash. You have no idea what it means to me to have a child want me at her birthday lunch.

MAKING IT COUNT

I attended our church’s annual preschool Spring Sing event. There were 75 preschoolers on stage singing their little hearts out. I love it that our church chooses children.

In fact, the church relocated about 12 years ago. They built a gym, a great nursery facility, and plenty of children’s classrooms. They chose the needs of children over a designated worship center. Worship was held in a multi-purpose facility. It was an excellent choice. 

 IN CLOSING

We chose children. After a couple of “not meant to be” pregnancies we ended up with a son and a daughter. They’re adults now and remain the pride and joy of our lives. 

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

Brand new kids are born every day, worldwide. Some are wanted, some aren’t. Millions are sold or abandoned. Millions more are aborted before seeing the light of day. 

Today I choose to speak up for choosing children. 

Today I’m asking you to share this blog to encourage others to choose children.

AND FINALLY

Jesus loves the little children, Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Happy-kids-with-thumbs-up

Shalom