Have you ever done something smart that turned out to be stupid? Have you ever made a good choice for yourself or others that seemed the best course of action, only for it to blow up in your face?
This 4-part series is based on something that happened to me when I was 5-years-old: the choices that followed, and the consequences of those choices that still resound today, both in memory and in lessons, for how I need to interact with the children in my life.
This week, we pick up the story where we left off. If you didn’t have a chance, please read part 1 here.
So… I remember going to my friends house to spend the night. I remember the drum set that his father and older brother shared. And I remember my friend’s brother getting in trouble with his father — something I had little experience with, and that terrified me.
The third part of the evening that I vividly remember is when I chose to go home. I could have asked my friend’s mother to call my mom, but I was too ashamed. I was so scared and so uncomfortable that I remember building up my energy and planning to blast out the front door like a bullet, running the 1-block to my house as soon as my hosts weren’t looking. And I did. In my jammies — without any shoes or socks!
I know the layout of this story is odd, but if I put it all together it would be far too long. We will pick up the story in part 3 of Safe and Sorry, but right now, let’s look at a couple of lessons that we can learn from part 2.
Even a good, smart child can make a bad choice if they feel shame. We need to strive to foster shame-free cultures in our ministries. It is incredibly important that our students, both short and cute to tall and furry understand that where we are, they are safe. We need to fight for our student’s safety.
If they are to grow to understand who God is, we have to provide an environment where it is safe to ask questions, to get emotional, to argue/debate, and to be real. The choices we make have a large impact on how our students see God. If we won’t let them be free to work out whatever is going on in their lives, how will they ever see God as someone who accepts them as they are?
Scared children often act without logic. How easy would it have been for me to grab a pair of shoes? How simple would it have been to properly prepare myself for the journey home? When a child get’s into the fight-or-flight mindset, reason leaves.
As an adult in my student’s lives, it’s important that I keep a cool head in situations that they can’t handle. My ability to bee cool and stay logical will help to ground them as I help to guide them out of whatever struggle they have found themselves in. On the flip side, if I lose my cool, they may choose to run, and their issues may lead them down paths they need not go.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment’s section. Seriously! We’re all in this together.