These are Happy Times! As I reflect back on my childhood years; I am reminded of how when children are young–they are carefree, innocent and unique in their own way. As children their world is a place of exploration, creativity and growth. They discover and learn new things everyday and are excited for the adventures that await them. Some of my favorite happy places as a child were going on family vacations, having a picnic at the park or beach, going to the County Fair every year and taking my first Disneyland trip at the age of 7. Those were memorable, fun and happy times; because of being surrounded by family and building memories that would last a lifetime.
With each new adventure in life; comes learning experiences. There is opportunity to create, explore, grow and nurture the uniqueness and individuality as a child, until one day you will discover your gift/true talent that you have been specifically designed to do with your life. Each child is completely unique and created for God’s purpose. Some children will want to be leaders, some will want to follow, and others will require lots of direction, while some do not. One thing that is for certain; is that all children need to be nourished, cherished and challenged–to become all that they can be!
Mark 10:14 God says, “Let the children come to me and do not forbid them.” I strongly believe that we are too let children express their uniqueness and creativity. As a teacher; I have learned through experience–that we are to encourage, train and equip the children to be all that God intended for them to be. As we learn to cherish our children, the better challengers we become. Children need encouragement, love and support to help them realize their God-given potential. Therefore, we must understand the importance of cherishing and challenging their individuality.
Proverbs 22:6 Passion Translation says, Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.
*Train means: [understanding your children’s talents and then seeing that they go into that field.] “Train up a child in the way he should go”: Notice that the Lord doesn’t tell us to teach a child, but instead, we are to train a child. That means we are to mold into shape by discipline and practice.
How do we do that? Love them, Lift them up, laugh with them, invest time into them, and lead them by good example. These truths will go a long way!
Finding a Balance in Cherishing and Challenging
Cherishing means “to treat with love, treating with affection and tenderness; to hold dear” (Webster’s Dictionary). Other ideas of the word cherish; include valuing, affirming, accepting, commending, and caring. As teachers we are to reflect the love of Jesus; and translate God’s unconditional love into the hearts of the students we teach.
Challenging is defined as “calling for full use of one’s abilities or resources in a difficult but stimulating effort; absorbing; intriguing” (Webster’s Dictionary). We want to challenge our children to be all they can for Jesus and to do it with the gifts and qualities of which they are richly blessed.
As children discover and find their “Happy Place” while growing up–they will reach a higher level of excellence and realize that they have been created by a master designer for a specific purpose. It is a great joy to see God’s design and plan unfold in a child’s life!
Psalm 139:13-14 Passion Translation
You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
Helpful Reminders to Cherish & Challenge each child towards a God-Designed plan:
- Unconditional Love (liking them when they do not seem loveable)
- Identify and Affirm the best in each child
- Encourage them through their individuality to be the best they can be
- Simply enjoy them for who they are; because God created them
- Teach to and through the God-given potential in each child
- Stretch their understanding of what they are capable of
- Empower them to be all they can be
As we better understand that our children are God’s infinite designs; they will develop in their personalities and temperaments; and will learn to utilize their differences.
God is the author and creator of everything. Treat your children as a garden. “A garden; is seen to have plants that need bright sun, while other plants require shade. Some require water to blossom, and others require very little water at all.” Learn to apply this method in viewing children. God created each of us completely unique, in order to fulfill His mission. Praise God every day for the opportunity to love these precious children, to Train them, Encourage them, and help them reach their full potential.
Join me on the Journey!
Study guide Workbook: “Teaching With Heart” By: Jody Capehart