Special thanks to Rev Ken Leverton who is sharing the Good News with us this morning.
It is a privilege to care for your children on a Sunday morning and I would like to share the following thoughts with you.
Children and context – our children live on the same planet as we adults do, but no longer in the same world we grew up in. Life has changed – children live in a highly automated environment. They are faced with the challenges of constant changes in technology, with bullies and peer pressure. Drugs and violence are constantly present, often in and around their school playground, the community or home environment. Is it any wonder that our children are becoming depressed at a young age, are “acting out” in various ways as they try to give expression to their feelings of frustration, anxiety, anger, rejection and isolation?
Our children need us to communicate with them. They need to be given opportunity to engage openly with parents, grandparents, care-givers, and others, with attentiveness, without judgement. We need to validate the words and feelings they share.
These are some words I believe children long to hear to help them realise God’s dream for their lives:
“I believe in you” – when I believe in you, you start believing in yourself. Let us build upon a child’s strengths rather than constantly correcting weaknesses.
“You can count on me” – children long for someone to rely on because life offers plenty of opportunities for disappointment. Keep your promises and act on your threats. When parents are reliable, a child trusts in God much easier.
“I treasure you “ – children need to feel special, valued and treasured, not because of any performance, but because they are our gifts from God and deserve our affirmation.
“I am SORRY, please forgive me” – tough words for a parent, but a sincere apology and a request for forgiveness shows respect. Such a request shows children that their feelings matter and helps them with taking responsibility.
“I love you” – children who consistently hear that they are loved will say those words more easily through their lives and it may also help them understand the concept of God’s unconditional love.
Saying “NO” effectively and with a clear message, if we want our children to be able to say no to drugs, alcohol, the influence of bad peers and other temptations.
This is the basis of our children’s ministry each Sunday – to love them unconditionally as God loves us unconditionally.
Our children are worthy of our Affection, Attention, Affirmation, Encouragement, Love and Respect at all times.