Traversing Change in a Changing World

Growing up is hard. A child’s body, world, and language is in a constant mode of change. They see changes whenever they look in the mirror. They welcome what they think is good and are shamed by anything that they perceive is negative. Some, face harder changes like moving to a new house or a different country, changing schools or languages, or even who will raise them.  Letting go and holding on are very important skills for traversing a world of change. The amount of baggage they carry can make all the difference.

Sometimes even children have so much stuff inside their “heart pack” that a counselor is needed to help sort through it all. What if we could teach some basic truths that would help children manage the stuff that comes with change? What if they could start learning as early as 2 who God is and who they are?

The best teachers live what they teach. If we want to help them grow and change according to God’s plan, we must practice truth in front of them. Children learn which “direction signs” to trust by listening to and watching the adults as they maneuver through life.

It is primarily important in a world that is constantly changing to know that the God who is ever good and faithful, cannot and will not ever change. We can rest in His love and never have to fear the changes He wants for us.” James 1:16-17“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.”

We will fail many times as we example how to face change in front of our children, especially when their change brings an unexpected change to us. But we can always show them how to get up when we fail. Those times when we don’t choose the best words or actions is an opportunity for us to teach them that even grownups sometimes need to say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry.”

Praying for God to direct your response instead of reacting to your own changes will example for them how to trust God’s guidance.  Stopping to pray instead of reacting to change takes practice. Let your children hear you pray for God’s help and direction through the changes that you face.

Sometimes we don’t want to change when we really need to. Changing our actions and attitudes when they are harmful to others or just selfish and unkind is not an easy change to make. Sadly, it is important for us to teach our children that we can’t trust our hearts; we need God to examine us.” Psalm 139:23-24 (The Net Bible) “Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns! See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me, and lead me in the reliable ancient path!” God has grace and forgiveness for those who will confess and repent. Teaching repentance and grace will help them learn to fail without becoming failures.

And above all else we need to remember that God’s love flows through His people.  Your heart needs to be a safe place for your children.  “Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” Eph. 4:32 Are you vulnerable with them? The more you share yourself the more they will open their hearts and share their concerns and needs with you.

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."

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