Encouraging parents in their efforts to raise their children to be enthusiastic servants of the Lord.
Author: Thereasa Winnett
Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.
Have you ever wished you had a better relationship with your spouse or children? Are there unresolved issues with your parents or siblings? Do you feel as if your friendships aren’t the deep meaningful relationships you really want? Do you sometimes feel as if there is no one who really knows you and accepts you and unconditionally loves you for who you are?
I don’t know if I have ever said this about any book (other than the Bible of course!). If you have meaningful relationships in your life that are not what you wish they were, you absolutely must read One Month to Love by Kerry and Chris Shook. This couple has done the best job I have ever seen of breaking down the various aspects of not only how to be the person you need to be in your relationships, but helping you understand what you need from the important people in your life.
Our daughter had quite a flair for the dramatic when she was younger (I can’t imagine from whom she inherited that trait!). At one point, I warned our pediatrician I would probably bring my daughter in one day with an arm that had been broken for a couple of days. I told the doctor I wasn’t abusive. It was just that every tiny injury our daughter had at that age was most definitely “a broken something, from which I may probably die” (pronounced with much wailing and gnashing of teeth). The pediatrician smiled and said it was a common story from the parents of her patients.
If your child isn’t the dramatic sort, then the previous paragraph makes absolutely no sense to you and you can skip reading the rest. If, however, you totally understand what I am describing, chances are you too have given birth (after three days of excruciating labor – but I digress!) to a dramatic child.
You would think encouraging children’s artistic talent would be so easy every Church is doing it well. Not really. Coloring sheets really do very little to develop artistic talent in anyone. In fact, I have known many adult artists who still struggle with how to use their gifts for God.
As a non-artist, I have to beat the bushes for help with all of the art projects I am unable to do well. Even those people who are very talented, downplay their artistic abilities when I ask for their help. Maybe it’s because the art world is very competitive and it can be a difficult way to make money. People assume if they aren’t making lots of money with their art, they have no talent. As a non-artist, I say God can use whatever artistic talent you have or can fake!
Probably the best thing to ever happen to photography and children was digital photography. Now parents don’t have to spend tons of money letting their children practice taking pictures only to end up with envelopes filled with unusable photos. Children can practice for hours at no cost (other than the camera) to the family budget. Your child has a better chance than ever of discovering and developing the gift of photography.
Many people enjoy taking pictures. Facebook is filled with photos depicting everything happening in the lives of our teens. So how do you know if this is a gift your child has been given by God to use in His Kingdom? In some ways you don’t. I am by no means a gifted photographer, but many of my photos have been used to promote missions, Bible classes and other things that glorify God. Sometimes a “good enough” photo, is good enough to be used by God.
For a few years after college, I lived in New York City. The congregation I attended was full of extremely talented people who were gifted by God in lots of ways. The thing I enjoyed the most though, was that the people there had found so many creative ways to use their gifts to glorify God. The experience opened my eyes to the many ways people are gifted by God and how they can use these gifts to serve God in an infinite number of ways.
Research is showing that the Church is losing its young people more rapidly than ever before. Not only that, but if a young person is considered creative or artistic, they are even more likely to leave the Church and in theory, God. No one knows for sure why and I am sure there are lots of reasons. I do think though, that the Church can be horribly slow in not only recognizing the gifts God has given our children, but also in finding meaningful ways for the children to use those gifts to serve God.