Jan 1, 2018

Children Are Desperate for This One Thing

Christmas just "wrapped up" (my feeble attempt at humor) and kids are enjoying the items they got from their wish list. 

You would think kids would ask "Santa" for a list of toys, games, electronics, bikes, etc.  And most did.  But a survey this Christmas season revealed that many kids also have more serious wishes.

A study of 2,000 parents with kids ages 3 to 12-yeras-old found that many kids put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their list, followed by a real-life reindeer.

Third on kids' list was a "pet horse" and number four was a "car."  Other items on the list included a dog, chocolate candy, a house, an elephant iPhone and iPad.

Coming in at number 10 was a "dad."

Why was "dad" on the list?  Why would children ask for a dad in the midst of options like toys, video games, phones, etc.?

I think the answer is that children, more than anything, long to have adults in their life that love them, care for them and nurture them

No present, no amount of money, no video game, no toy, no phone, can take the place of an adult in a child's life.

I have a friend whose father deserted him when he was a child.  The son had to go and live with his grandmother, who raised him.  The father would basically ignore him all year and not spend any time with him.  Then at Christmas, his father would show up with lots of expensive gifts...
trying to make up for his lack of involvement with his son.

When the boy became a teenager, the father even bought him an expensive motorcycle and sports car.  The boy loved those things, but it still couldn't fill the void that was left from not having a father who nurtured him and spent time with him.

One day, as I was talking with him about it, he said to me with tears in his eyes, "Dale, I would trade all of the gifts my dad bought me over the years just to know that he really loves me and cares for me."

You see, no amount of "stuff' can ever replace the love a child needs from the adults in his or her life.

The same things is true not only with parents, but with a child's experience at church as well. 

A cool video can't take the place of a child seeing a caring volunteer.

An awesome facility can't be a substitute for a loving volunteer.

A dynamic large group teacher can't impact a child like a faithful small group leader can.

An enthusiastic worship team can't influence a child's life like a small group leader who personally prays with the child.

A fun name and logo for your children's ministry can't bring a child back like a volunteer wo personally knows the child's name and takes an interest in him or her.

Brand new, beautiful rockers in the nursery can't be replaced by the loving volunteers who do the rocking.

Children are not desperate for our amazing, on-screen graphics. They see much better graphics all week on TV and social media.  But they are desperate to see someone in their life who believes in them.

Children are not desperate for our games and fun at VBS.  They play in sport's leagues and have tons of other extracurricular options.  But they are desperate for someone who will listen...really listen to them.

Children are not desperate for our take home papers.  They are already overwhelmed by thousands of messages that are sent their way each day.  But they are desperate for someone who knows the challenges they are facing at home and cares about what they are going through.

Children are not desperate for our quiet seat prizes.  They have plenty of trinkets and access to candy already.  But they are desperate for someone who will sit with them and quietly pray for their prayer needs.

Your children's ministry is surrounded by children who are desperately looking for a connection with a caring adult.  What an opportunity you have to help them find what they are looking for.  And what a privilege you have to introduce them to Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

4 comments:

Dale, what a powerful post. You knew I would love this post. I have worked and ministered to these kids for years. I can validate what you say is true. It was true back in the eighties and it is still true today - maybe even more so because we have raised a generation of dads that didn't have dads so they don't know how to be dads. I think the church can fill in that gap. Or rather the church family should fill in the huge gap. Maybe the next generations of dads will have good role models in the form of Christian men. Thanks for this great post. I'll be passing it forward.

Linda, thanks for the kind words. Praying 2018 is your best year of ministry ever!

Thank you for the reminder of why we do ministry! I will pass on to my leaders.

Thanks Kim. I pray 2018 will be a year you and your team make your greatest impact ever in kids' lives.

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