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.
Do you have a teen who wants to change the world? Thankfully, for all of its issues, our society is encouraging children to become more involved in making a difference in the world. As a Christian though, I want to make sure my daughter understands one very important principle the world does not teach. Souls last longer than bodies.
Serving the felt needs of people without sharing God with them, only helps them temporarily. We have done nothing to make sure they have an opportunity to go to heaven when they die. On the other hand, trying to share the Gospel with someone who is starving or in pain is cruel. How can they hear God’s love, when you aren’t even taking the time to get them some food or medicine so they don’t starve? Serving felt needs and sharing the Gospel should always be done together.
I saw a great idea on Pinterest that originated on the Kids With a Vision blog (a neighborhood outreach in Newport Hills). Their group is K-3rd grade, but I really think any age group would benefit from this service project.
Often when we run across homeless people, a lot of us freeze. We want to help, but then we hear the voices arguing in our heads about helping versus enabling addiction and other things. So next time, instead of fighting with yourself or your family about whether or not to give a homeless person money, hand them a “Caring Bag” instead. The bags should help meet some of the person’s current needs. You can even place a referral card to an agency that can provide the person with more in depth help.
Want a fun project to do with your children over Thanksgiving, which will also teach them real appreciation? Have your children draw a turkey on a sheet of paper – they can use their handprints to make the turkey or draw one from scratch.
After the turkey is beautiful, it is time for some fun. Brainstorm with your children to think of people who have been helpful to your family or your child this year. It may be a neighbor, friend or family member, but you need to know where they live.
Write a note on the turkey drawing to tell the person why you are thankful for them. Make the note personal and heartfelt. It is up to you whether or not you want to sign your name or make it a surprise. Attach it to a bag and fill it with little goodies to thank them. If you are leaving it anonymously, you may want to put in a box of cocoa, wrapped candies or a small gift card. If you sign it, you can leave home baked goodies and more personal, rather than store bought items.