Last month we taught the first week of the Celebrating Children Workshop in Salem, Oregon. Twenty-three participants spent time discussing the care and protection of vulnerable children around the world. We asked our summer intern, Eugenie Adamah-Tassah, to share what she learned and experienced during that week.
When I first heard about the Celebrating Children Workshop, I knew it would be an interesting topic that would help me gain a better understanding of children and how to honor God in the way we care for them. During that week, I learned that God’s intention for a child is not for the child to be left alone without the proper support that allows him/her to thrive. Among these support systems are the child’s family (nuclear and extended), the Body of Christ, the local community, the local and foreign government, and other organizations that promote the well being of children.
The CCW training ties into my studies in the area of thinking globally while acting locally. Whatever is done to a single individual can have a global impact on humanity despite of the scale of that impact. Our actions must be done in ways that are considerate of others around the globe.
As a follower of Christ, I must act locally in welcoming the children who are struggling. I must not only look for opportunities to go overseas and serve as a missionary. There are fields in our communities and in our neighborhoods that need the seed of Christ’s love to be sown into hearts. In partnership with God, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will find our day-to-day purpose as we seek His will and his glory in our own lives and in the lives of people with whom we cross paths.
The Circles of Protection of children in our society are vital for their well being. These circles work together and when one is missing, it affects the child’s life. As we encounter families in our communities that are struggling, we as followers of Christ have an important role in filling in the gaps so the children can thrive and be successful. I believe that this training will not only serve families, but the global Church as we thrive toward serving communities where God has placed us.
Personally, the CCW training brought tears to my eyes as I realized the mistakes I have made in my own parenting. For example, lying to my child that I would call the garbage man to come and take him away. Though I knew I didn’t mean it, I realized I should not use such a strategy to help my child learn to obey. I also love the idea of writing words of praise for each one of my children and keeping them in a box to help me remind myself of the blessings they are to me whenever I am frustrated because of their behavior.
My children are a promise of Hope and they must be treated with love and dignity even when they mess up. And this is true of every of the hundreds of thousands of children around the world today. When a child makes mistakes or willingly makes choices that are wrong, our tendency as adults is to reprimand the child based on the behavior. But as educators who carries God’s heart for a child, we must take time to think of an effective ways to teach the child through this experience. There is really no prescription other than letting God’s Spirit influence every decision we as adults make in regard to a child.