Last night, after youth group, some cleanup, and then a brief wrestling match with my 8 year old, my son placed his usual Sunday night request: Could I climb into his bunk with him and help him go to sleep. Two reasons I am all about that request: #1- I realize that those requests will one day disappear- much sooner than any parent would ever wish. #2 Because my Sundays are full of ministry to middle school and high school students, I often miss the ministry being imparted to my son through the various children's ministries at our church so I have to ask what he is learning. Our conversation began casula.."How was your night?" "Good", he said. "What did you do tonight?" "Played some games. It was fun." He told me. "C'mon..anything else? I know you did more than games." He said that they had learned some stuff; that they had a lesson. "What did you talk about?"..."What did you learn tonight at CIA?" ....pause. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15", he said...
I have to admit my amazement because I hadn't taught him that passage. He had memorized it from Children In Action, our sunday night children's ministry. In his brief time upstairs, he had studied and memorized that verse through a creative fill-in-the-blank type game. To be an effective partner with what our church is offering our children, we have to be proactive in asking great questions. Whether we ask questions about their day at school, the birthday party or church, kids and teenagers are often brief and matter-of-factly when it comes to communicating and reflecting on their experiences- especially when the parent is asking the questions. Ask and re-ask in diferent ways those all important questions: what was the message tonight? what did you learn or discuss? How did everyone respond tonight- were they good listeners? Was it easy to understand? What do you think he was talking about or what do you think the message meant? We cover alot of topics on Sunday nights and the youth are always engaged in these conversations. This is another way for them to take the message home with them.
I would add in addition to the debrief, a great tool or the parent is the follow through. In order for my son to retain the verse that he memoirzed in a brief setting, his mother and I throughout the week will have to ask him to repeat it, repeat it, ask him what it means, repeat it, and so on throughout the week. By doing this at home, I am certain he will have a stronger opportunity to grow in his knowledge of God's Word and it's application.
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