Kids Need Adult Involvement
When you look back over your childhood, how would you describe the manner in which your folks parented you? How did other important adults in your life treat you? Did you feel safe with them? Did they take care of your basic needs for nutrition and shelter, for cleanliness, nurture and emotional care? Did they lead you to a knowledge of your Savior? God designed parents and influential adults to meet the needs of young children and to teach them how to become responsible, morally upright adults, who are able and willing to give to and care for others in their society. Some of us had parents and teachers who did that pretty well. Others grew up in abusive or neglectful families, and we still bear the invisible scars.
The good news is that our past doesn’t have to determine our future. If our parents, teachers or other primary caretakers were loving and relatively functional, then we can be grateful for that, and we can also look to resources like classes, groups, books and counselors for tools to improve upon the ways we learned from our own past experiences. We should never settle for “good enough” when it comes to the raising of children. Like marriage, parenting, teaching and influencing children is challenging work. Fortunately, we can also experience an abundance of joy and fulfillment in these relationships.
It is obvious that babies start out being entirely dependent upon adults for their very survival. If left on their own, they will die. Did you know that meeting their needs for safety, physical touch, cuddling, emotional comfort and reassurance is just as necessary and foundational to healthy development as nutrition and shelter? After WWI, in Europe, there were orphanages filled with babies who were getting fed, but not held or nurtured. An inordinate number of those children actually died from the lack of physical touch. Children are born dependent, and it is the job of adults to meet their needs.
As kids grow, it’s our job as adults to help them gradually become competent adults, but it’s not our job to make them independent. We are to help them become gradually less dependent upon adults and gradually more skilled at being interdependent with people of all ages. Most important of all, it is the job of parents, grandparents and others in the Body of Christ to model, teach and encourage children to become totally dependent upon God as the Source of everything they most deeply need.
Do you see the progression, from dependency ON people, to interdependency WITH people, and healthy dependency ON the Lord? (Just an fyi: dependency upon anyone or anything other than God is idolatry. And at its worse, it leads to addiction, which is bondage.)
As parents and caregivers, teachers and adult models, we need to study our kids so we can discover who God designed them (uniquely) to be, and to empathize with them so we “Do not provoke your/[our] children to seething wrath.” (Eph. 6:4) What an honor it is that we get to introduce kids to the only Perfect Parent who loves them (and us) unconditionally, and we get to help them form a close friendship with Him, which increases their chances of growing up to love and obey Him as they learn to become more like Him.
Adults have the privilege to walk ahead of the younger ones on this path. And as we grow, they learn from us how they can grow (in whatever direction we model). Let us strive to live more peacefully dependent upon Him and lovingly interdependent with each other. Let us submit ourselves to God and each other. These are important building-blocks in the foundation of healthy families and healthy relationships in the Body of Christ.
Will you rise up and become the adult a child in your sphere of influence needs? You may be their only source to THE Source of who they were ever meant to be.
I would love to connect with you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or someone you know would like to set up a counseling appointment, please call me at 612-239-4178. Leave a message, and I will do my best to get back to you within 24 hrs.
In God's Lap With You,
Holly Eaton, Clinical Christian Counselor
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