Kids Ministry 101, Bill wrote: "Every big thing starts as a little something." He said that we don't know what the kids we teach will become as adults. We can impact the future by how we teach today.
I started thinking about my childhood. I remember things that my parents and other adults said...things that encouraged me or discouraged me. Little things that they don't remember but had a profound influence on me, at the time and even now.
Then I started thinking about the kids I've taught in the past. I don't know what small thing I may have said or done that impacted a child. Those small things won't stick in my memory. They are small, seemingly innocuous. But are they?
I remember a few years ago in one of my church classes. "E" wasn't a very enthusiastic attender. He came because his mother brought him. I tried to find out what he liked to do (build) and include a variety of activities that would appeal to him. He came and participated, but still wasn't exactly happy to be there. One day, as he was building, I was talking. I often try to engage children in conversation, talking about their interests and so forth. So, I began with something safe: What was his favorite thing to do in kindergarten? (Of course, build.) We talked about his school and his teacher. A seemingly innocuous conversation.
A couple of weeks later, "E" was excitedly telling me something that happened at school. He mentioned his teacher. "Mrs. Turner, right?" I asked. He stopped and appeared very concerned. "How did you know?" he asked. I smiled at him. "You told me, remember?" He grinned back suddenly. "Oh yeah."
After that conversation, "E" became a different child, much more engaged. He seemed more interested in what we were doing. He even made his mother bring him one day when she was sick. "They may miss me," he told her. (She told me.)
A little thing - listening to a child and remembering what he said. But it made a difference. I still see "E" at church from time to time. He's in middle school now. But he still speaks to me. (If only in single syllables - after all he is a teenage boy!)
I've been thinking about little things a lot lately. Are the things I'm doing making an impact in positive ways? Do my actions promote creativity and community? Or am I shutting down their experiences through some negative little things?
Or maybe I'm just thinking too much.
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