By: Crystal Mazzuca
“Kids and students feel lonely and disconnected because their lives feel like a performance in which they act out each identity they create for themselves.” – Flip the Script, pg. 29
Fear and anxiety are prevalent in Gen Alpha. Odds are that if kids aren’t personally going through a hard time, they know someone who is. Or they see the brokenness and sinfulness of our world, and it causes fearful and anxious thoughts and feelings to rise up. Combine that with the pressure kids feel to define themselves, please people, and fit in by standing out, and you find kids who are aching to know who they are and how they should think and feel.
As ministry leaders, we know that Jesus is the answer. We know that God gives us a peace that passes all understanding. We know that He defines our kids and the world around them. We so desperately want them to know and rely on the faithful love and presence of God. We want them to cast their anxieties onto Jesus because He cares so deeply for them.
So how can we help Gen Alpha find security, peace, and hope in the one true God?
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
As kids come to our ministries, let’s be in the habit of rejoicing. Let’s share with them our own stories of victory and seeing God work amidst hard times. Let’s display the joy of Jesus that can be found, even in the hardest and darkest of times. When we, as leaders, are able to rejoice always, our kids will see and know both what joy looks like and that it is possible.
As we rejoice, let’s help them rejoice. When kids talk to us about their fears, insecurities, and anxieties, we first need to listen to them. We have the incredible opportunity to sympathize and show compassion and understanding. We get to acknowledge the difficulties and hard times they are bringing to us.
Then, we can help kids look back at the ways God has shown Himself faithful in their lives, look now at how He is with them, and look forward at how He will never leave or forsake them. Even though their circumstances may not change, the truth of who God is (faithful, powerful, in control) never changes … and that can change everything!
Talking about our struggles is a good thing. Talking to God about the hard things is even better. Let’s pray for kids and with kids. Let’s invite them to pray and show them the way. We get to teach kids that prayer is talking to and listening to God. It is something we do when things are difficult, and it is something we do when things are great.
Whatever a preschool- or elementary-age kid is going through, they can pray. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the fiery furnace—they prayed. When Paul and Silas were stuck in prison—they prayed and worshiped. We can come to God anytime about anything and know that He listens. He cares. He’s in control.
Being thankful does wonders for our hearts, minds, and attitudes. As kids bring to us their worries and fears, let’s help them see what they can be thankful for. This doesn’t mean that we make light of the things going on in kids’ lives; rather, we lighten the burden of those things by helping to focus on what we have to be thankful for. May thankfulness always be a part of our prayers and conversations.
As kids come to know the security available to them through Jesus, they will be transformed. Their identities will reflect the peace and assurance that comes from knowing the goodness of God paired with His power and control. This is one of the many ways that we get to help guide kids into knowing who God made them to be.
Crystal Mazzuca is a Content Editor for Lifeway’s Hyfi and Kids’ Short Term Studies. With an MA in Christian Education Administration, she has a passion to encourage and equip leaders to impact the next generation for Christ. She’s spent the last 20 years in Kids, Student, and Family Ministry and loves serving both the big C church and her local church in Olympia, WA. Crystal loves reading, going to the beach, and playing video games with her 3 sons.