There is a minister I know who does something I believe is very unique. When he sees a homeless person, he doesn’t just offer them food. He sits down and asks them their story. He listens as they share whatever they want to share with him about their past, their problems, their worries and more. He has a better chance of making a lasting impact on the life of that person than a program that interacts with that same person every day for a year. Why? Because Matt takes the time to really listen to what the person needs to say.
There are very few good listeners alive today. In fact, I believe the entire industry of counseling is built in part by people willing to pay someone to just listen to them. If we want our children to be effective in serving others and sharing their faith, they have to be good listeners. Talking and doing have their place in ministry, but it is listening that can change the world.
Your children need to develop great conversational skills. Not only will it help them in any occupation they choose to pursue, but it can also make them a more effective Christian. In order to serve others and share their faith, our children need to be able to communicate effectively and listen actively.
Christians can’t help others in meaningful ways if they don’t understand what the people they are serving really need. Our children can’t share their faith effectively if they can’t communicate it in a way that impacts the hearer. We aren’t reflecting God’s love to others if we speak in ways that make the other person feel unloved.
Recently a mother told me about a sleepover her daughter had hosted. She peeked in on the girls at one point because it had gotten so quiet. The girls were sitting around the room texting and playing video games on their telephones. She had to remove the devices to get them to interact with each other.
In some, ways the scenario is amusing. It is a real reflection of how technical devices amuse (and possibly control!) almost everyone in our society. On the other hand, I am afraid this generation of children will be unable to converse effectively with another human being.
Looking for creative ways for your children to express their gratitude to others? Showing gratitude is a great way for us to show others God’s love and ours. Your children can verbalize their appreciation or write a note, but sometimes it’s fun to get a little creative when you thank someone.
The next time your children want to show someone their appreciation, try having fun with one of these ideas:
After “dada” and “mama”, my daughter’s first two words were “peas” and “tanks”. We believed it was important to teach our daughter to be polite, considerate and appreciative as early as we possibly could. Fast forward sixteen years later and our daughter has become the polite, considerate, gracious young woman we hoped to raise. She will fight to the bitter end for God and what she believes is right, but her spirit is gracious.
Why was it so important to us that she be taught to be grateful? The Bible mentions the word “thanks” dozens of times. Almost all of them have the word “give” before it, as in “give thanks.” It only makes sense God as the Creator, would want His creation to be grateful. Not only for being created, but also for all of the other many blessings God provides for us on a regular basis.