Skip to main content

Levels of Engaging Children & Teens

I've been pondering the different ways that people engage children & teens as they parent, educate, and supervise them.

So I've created a ladder of engaging children/teens that rises from

  1. tolerating
  2. engaging
  3. nurturing
  4. shepherding
As a parent/grandparent/teacher/caretaker, it's easy to fall into the habit of simply tolerating kids. It doesn't look like an abusive relationship - you and your kids might even happily co-exist, sharing space together, but really living separate lives. Sometimes I go to sleep realizing that I served my children all day, I watched them play, and I even directed them in various activities. But I never sat down to just 'be' with them.

To really engage a child, you must get down on their level and interact with them. You might read a book together, work a puzzle together, cook together or play cars together. But the key is being together - capturing time and space in the same plane together. Engaging a child is the first stpe in building a meaningful relationship. It's building a bottom line level of support from which you can grow.

The next level of adult/child relationship is nurturing. It goes beyond 'playing with' a child to promoting character/skills development. It means taking time to teach life lessons through everyday experiences. It means disciplining a child in order to mold a heart - not just change immediate behavior. Nurturing requires a much greater investment of time and heart - and it requires adults to resist the call of laziness in order to be intentional (ouch!).

The highest level of relationship is shepherding - it's engaging a child in order to lovingly guide them towards spiritual, emotional, social, mental and physical maturity. It means looking into the skills/talents/passions/styles of a child and helping them to become the best they can be. As children grow, it means helping them establish and work toward life goals. It requires rebuking, instructing, discipling and loving in a long-term committed relationship.

Comments

Thank you for visiting me and leaving a comment. I look at comments as invitations - my visit to your blog has been delightful!

I am very touched by your article on levels of engagement. I felt a real twinge of Spirit at your remark about tending to the children during the course of the day without ever really relating to them as people. Thank you for that reminder.

I read on and thoroughly enjoyed the post from your Pastor about marriage. Loving, scriptural, but clearly not leaving the room for the covert abuse that so many "respect your husband" sermons allow. Beautiful job.

And the little girl's hair-dos! How cute are they??? I'm not so sure my granddaughter will be thanking you for that one - she doesn't care much for even a morning brush - but Grammy will enjoy it (until the fussing starts....)

Popular posts from this blog

Children's Prayers During Meals

The Armistead family taught our children a lovely blessing to sing at the dinner table. It is sung to the tune of the children's classic song, Are You Sleeping?

God our Father
God our Father
Once Again
Once Again
We bow our heads to thank you
Bow our heads to thank you
Amen
Amen

We love this blessing, and we've recently adapted it to involve younger children and guests. Instead of everyone singing each phrase twice, we sing it as an 'echo prayer'. One child leads the song, starting with the first phrase, "God our Father". The rest of the table echoes. Then the leader leads the second phrase , "once again", before waiting for the table to echo. And so forth, until the whole blessing is sung.

It's an easy way to remind our children (and ourselves) to give thanks to our Provider and Sustainer throughout the day.

Goody Bags for Marriage Retreat - please share your ideas!

Reader Question:
I am in charge of creating 74 goody bags for an upcoming marriage retreat for my church, and I am in desperate need for some frugal, creative ideas on what I could put in these bags. In the past I know people have put little candy bars, a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple of packs of hot chocolate, tea bags etc so I was looking for ideas that might be something similar, but maybe a little different too. Would you have any fun thoughts on this?

A Few Ideas:
Visit www.likemerchantships.blogspot.com - Meredith does a fantastic time being incredibly hospitable on a budget.Our women's retreat coordinators wrapped the following things in a cellophanebag: a mininotebook, a pen, a candle, peppermints, chocolate kisses,and a colored paper quote/scripture. A friend just suggested packing candies that correspond to questions: an almond joy - share a joyful moment in your marriage, a hershey kiss - something about your first kiss, snickers - laughs, lifesavers - when your…

26 Ideas For Lego Storage Containers

My two boys LOVE legos, so they naturally end up scattering lego creations and random lego pieces throughout the house.  Last weekend, we converted their closet to be a LEGO WORLD.  Now they can store lego (and knex) pieces in their lego world, they have instructions for all of their kits in a ziplock bag, and they have a place to display their favorite ships.  And I have a mostly lego-free kitchen and living room!!

I just stumbled upon a great article with ideas for storing legos, if you have similar struggles in your house!  Check this out:  26 Ideas For Lego Storage Containers