On the bucket list of most people who live in Atlanta is running the Peachtree Road Race. Winding through Buckhead and Midtown, the 10K race is the largest in the world. It really is an experience worth having. I decided to make my attempt the summer after I had walked the Breast Cancer 3-Day in the Fall. I rationalized I had already gotten myself in “awesome” shape, so how hard could 10K really be?
The problem is that I hate running. I mean loathe, despise and every other negative word you can think of to use! For some unknown reason, I can walk for days, but running (at a slower pace than I walk, I might add) exhausts me after a block. Okay, it’s mainly mental exhaustion, but still, I am done after a few blocks.
From the start, let me clarify that I am not an expert on special needs. I have had a few graduate level classes on teaching children with special needs though, and have done quite a bit of volunteer work over the years with children in a variety of settings.
I have had a heart for children with special needs ever since I was a child. One of the things about the Church that breaks my heart is most congregations not only have not done a great job at finding a place for people with special needs, they have done almost nothing to discover and use the gifts they have.
So how are you and your family doing with the twelve month challenge to start living more like Jesus? Have you started having family devotionals? Has everyone found a Bible reading plan that meets their needs? Have you found some great songs to help you memorize scripture?
Finding a Bible reading plan for older children and teens can be a challenge. Many young people struggle with the standard “reading through the Bible in a year” or even the “chronological Bible” plans which adults usually prefer. Children start out the year fine, as those first days are the stories in Genesis they have heard most of their lives. As soon as the genealogies and law lists start though, their eyes glaze over and they give up on Bible reading.
When our daughter was about three years old, she started getting job offers to work in retail. From the time she could walk, if a cabinet door or drawer were open, she would shut it. While we waited to check out in a store, she would automatically start organizing the counter displays to make them look neat and interesting. If I were looking at a rack of clothes, she would start putting things where they belonged on nearby tables. She was blessed by God with the talent of organization. (Which I hasten to add, she did not get from me!)
Some children are not artistic in any way. Their stick figures even look bad and they can’t carry a tune. It would be easy to dismiss them as having no talent. I think the Bible tells us something different. When the members of the Church are spoken of as parts of the body, it appears everyone has a function. It doesn’t say anywhere, “and for the rest of you talentless people”. God has given everyone at least one gift that helps the Church. The trick is to help your child find out what that gift is.
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.