Some of My Greatest Teachers

If you have told a child 1,000 times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is the slow learner.
— Walter Barbie

Children have never been my preferred age group to work with. Particularly ones between the ages of 7 or 8 through 14. I have never really felt that I work well with children, although I have been told differently on occasions. Often times I have a hard time relating to them and interacting with them because I have struggled greatly and still do struggle with being patient. However, throughout the last 5 years I have been praying "dangerously" for patience and humility. And God is faithful to give us what we ask for when we are genuinely seeking it. In the past years of ministry, there has been a common thread - children. In South Africa, I was responsible for working with children at Holiday Bible Clubs (vacation Bible schools) as well as teens at junior youth camp. In India, apart from ministering to and with women, Amber and I helped out in an after school program as well as children's Sunday school. I lived with children in both South Africa and India as well. And I did genuinely love those children, however, there were moments when I failed to be patient with them. It was in those moments, when I discovered I was in fact the slow learner. Children - in times when I have succeeded in being patient as well as when I have failed - have been some of my greatest teachers.

Some of the lessons that I have learned from children seem obvious, others came after much observation.

  • Gratitude takes few words
  • Your words are not the only things that speak
  • Friendliness is a form of acceptance
  • "Showing off" is how they show you they like you and they want you to communicate that you like them
  • Overthinking is overrated and overdone
  • Play is crucial to health and growth
  • Laugh at yourself, often, especially when you make a mistake
  • Dance like no one is watching, while knowing full well all eyes are on you
  • Express yourself how you see fit and do not worry what others will think
  • Smile whenever possible and appropriate
  • Conversations are important - even if you cannot use big, complex words
  • Imagination cultivates learning and encourages adventure
  • God does not care how what you know or how much you know, He just wants you to live what you do know and keep learning
  • Patience is worth it
  • No one is perfect
  • Superiority does not come with age
  • The wisdom of children can humble the "greatest" among adults
  • Faith is not about doing
  • Trusting often times trumps service
  • Caring for others offers more reward than looking out for only yourself
  • Prayer is just talking to Jesus - it is best done when you talk like He is with you at that moment (because He is)
  • Parents are wiser than we give them credit for
  • Cuteness goes a long way in getting what you like
  • There is no cookie cutter when it comes to children, that does not change with age
  • The issues we deal with as we grow older, often had a seed planted in childhood
  • Nature and Nurture both play a role in creating character
  • Asking questions is important and it does not mean you are dumb
  • Allowing curiosity gives children an opportunity to love learning
  • Be daring
  • Try new things
  • Persevere; just because you make a mistake or fail once, keep doing it!
  • Ask for help
  • If you need to, cry when something hurts
  • Seek the comfort of others
  • Seek to comfort others
  • Encourage those that are doing well, and genuinely mean it
  • Be creative
  • Make things for people, notes and "little things" go a long way
  • Take and make time
  • Story time is powerful