By Brandon Hall, Middle School Director I am so blessed and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work with our awesome 4th and 5th graders! It is my goal to help our students successfully make the transition from Children’s Ministry to Student Ministry with a program that is specifically tailored to meet their needs. I am not an expert, nor do I profess to be, but here are some ways to empower and encourage your student in the those “in-between years.”
Help Them Understand the “Why”
It is very important at this age to help your student understand the why behind the “what’s” of the Christian faith. For a kid, it is easy for them to grow and learn a bunch of facts about the Bible, Jesus and God, but never really make the connections of why it’s important. I have found that a lot of students in this age group know a lot of Bible verses and facts, but have a hard time understanding why the information is important and how it applies to their life. Then when they enter Middle and High School, they have no idea why they believe what they thought they believed. Now is the time to engage your student and start dialoging, helping them think through the why behind the what. Whether that’s talking why your family goes to church, or why the Bible is true; focusing on this will help them take ownership of what they believe!
Sadly, the average age that a child views pornography is somewhere between 9-11. It is easy to assume that your child is the exception and has never seen pornography and they are not old enough to know what that is it. Never assume! With the internet so easily accessible, viewing sexual and pornographic images has become too easy and our kids are being exposed younger and younger. As a parent it is very important to engage your student in this topic and keep it something that your student feels comfortable talking to you about when/if it ever becomes an issue. It is a scary thing to talk about, or even think about, but it is important that you are able to have an open door of communication and help your student navigate the many temptations they are sure to face.
Help Them Understand Grace
As a kid, it is engrained pretty early that if you do good, you are rewarded, and if you do bad, you will be punished. This, for the most part, is true at home and at school, which is a very good thing in teaching kids about morality and that there are consequences for making bad decisions. And while this is true for a kid growing up, this message is completely opposite from the message of the Gospel. The Gospel teaches us that we receive God’s love and forgiveness when we don’t deserve and he even sent his Son to die while we were still sinners! Be intentional and come up with creative ways to teach your student about grace. Maybe that’s not punishing them when they deserve it, or giving them gifts or favor when they did nothing to deserve it. This will hopefully start some natural teaching moments about how God’s love and grace works, which goes beyond our ability to try and live up to his standard.