By Kim Harris, Leadership Strategist
West Cobb Church, Marietta, GA
Three-year-old Bain stands up, grinning from ear to ear, and proudly sings the ABC song. His family is so proud! Our little great nephew is learning so much and is quickly on his way to learning how to read.
Should we pull him out of school, quit reading books to him, and stop encouraging him in his language development? … of course not! This is just the beginning for Bain and his life long journey of reading and learning.
Bain can also quote a portion of John 13:34, “Love one another.” He learned this simple Bible thought in his preschool Sunday School class. His family is equally as proud of this accomplishment. But, is this the end of his spiritual development? Of course, not! It is just the beginning.
All too often we confuse a child’s ability to quote Bible verses and facts as the goal. We figuratively dust our hands off, pat ourselves on the back, and skip to the next verse or chapter, when in fact, those learned skills are just the beginning of a child’s journey toward understanding.
Now that Bain can quote “Love one another,” the next step is for him to understand what it means to love one another. That takes it to a whole new level.
Two simple action steps will help a child to really understand:
1. Kids need to EXPERIENCE love. They need to be able to know what it feels like to love and be loved. This is best accomplished when those around care for them, speak to them with kind words, treat them with love and respect, and respond to their needs in a kind and loving manner.
2. Kids need to PRACTICE loving one another. Not until a child begins to show others love will they truly understand and know what it means to love one another.
So, we are loving on Bain and providing him opportunities to “love one another” in ways that are appropriate to him. In time Bain will figure it all out and understand the rest of John 13:34… “as I have loved you!” Then we’ll be ready to help him reach the real goal … saving knowledge.
But for now, we are content with singing “Jesus Loves Me” and the ABC song and watching him mature into the man God intends him to be.