When Kids Feel Like They Don't Fit In
How do you help kids who feel like they don't fit in? I think this is a part of every kid's life or maybe not every kid, but it has to be 98 out of a hundred. If you think about your childhood, very few people felt like they always fit in or they were always accepted.
I feel like today in this digital world with social media and kids following each other on Instagram and Snapchat, it is so easy for a kid to feel like they’re not significant. It's so easy for kids to compare themselves with other kids. This is something as church leaders and children's ministry leaders that our kids desperately need our help with. Parents desperately need our help with this as well. It all boils down to helping kids become what I call “acutely self-aware,” not just self-aware, but acutely self-aware. That means when I walk into that room each Sunday, my desire for each of those 60 kids in my kids church is that they will know who they are in Christ and they will be as confident as ever in who they are in Christ.
There's a lot more to life than how tall you are; the color of your hair; whether or not you have freckles; whether or not you made the basketball team; whether or not you sit in the bleachers or you're out cheering at halftime. There's something much more significant than the letter on your report card; there is something much more significant than you making the list at the principal's office because of your grades. It is who you are in Christ; how God has wired you; how God has created you; what God wants you to do.
We do kids a favor when we help them recognize who they are in Christ and that their value is about so much more than how many likes they get on Instagram or how many friends they have on Snapchat. It is recognizing who they are in the One that created them in recognizing the great plan and purpose that God has for their life. How easy is it? It’s as simple as the words that come out of your mouth. We talk about anything and everything. Some of us talk so much we talk in our sleep. It doesn't have to be a curriculum; it doesn't have to be a program; it doesn't have to be a system; it doesn’t have to be you kids go over here and listen to this expert teach on this. It's you as the loving adult in front of those kids, or the loving teenager in front of those kids back in children's ministry. (Shoutout to the teenagers working back in children’s ministry. I appreciate those teenagers doing that.) It is you speaking words of life to those kids. It shows up in about every story in the Bible and on about every page of the Bible how God loves me, how God has created me, how God has a special plan for my life. There are special things we can teach; I think it's good to teach kids the spiritual gifts. God has wired each of us with spiritual gifts, abilities, and talents to serve Him. Kids need to know what those are and there we can take kids down a discipleship journey. Who I am in Christ and how I should be growing.
Their growth needs to impact the way they relate to people in the way they live their life; in the way they act at school; in the way they behave at home; and in the way that they treat kids at recess. Their growth also needs to impact the way they spend their money, the way they spend their time, and what they do after school. Kids need to be taught all that stuff, but it can be as simple as every Sunday when you’re in front of those kids, you are writing a 10 on their head. I don't know if that makes sense, writing a 10 on their head or putting a star over them. Speaking a future over; them reminding them that they are so amazing; reminding them that their mom and dad know that; their grandma and grandpa know that; their teacher at school knows that. The kids in their class, maybe they haven't told them that recently, but “I guarantee the kids in your class know you're special.”
There's somebody else; the Lord knows you are special. It can be just simple words we speak or it can be lessons we teach. But, it needs to be a message because kids are getting the “other message” so much every day of the week, almost every hour of the day of “Do I measure up?” “I'm not good enough.” “Somebody is bullying me.” “I don’t feel like I make the cut.” We can't tell kids enough just how special they are in Christ.
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