Raising a Child Who Wants to Change the World
Christian Parenting By Sylvia Cochran -Should you encourage your child to change the world?
It matters little if the parent is in favor of the current political climate or against it, with youth comes the fervor to change the world. Children of parents who acknowledge that there is plenty that could use improvement will be even more likely to look for ways of changing the world. Do not send out your child ill-equipped!
Avoiding Frustration: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
When children proclaim that they intend to change the world, there is a very real danger of having them become frustrated and even cynical over time. This is especially true of gifted children, who may be more aware of the many areas of needed improvement before they are emotionally ready to deal with them.
Spirituality plays a huge role in protecting youngsters from this vicious cycle of eagerness and frustration. For example, 2 Corinthians 9:12-13 teaches that one person can change many lives simply by what she does and gives of herself out of gratitude to God.
Point out to your growing child that it is not the “how much’ of money, goods and power that will change the world, but instead a lifestyle of gratitude that leads to changed lives in those with whom the growing youngster comes in contact. This has the power to change the world one person at a time.
Avoiding Radicalism: Providing Age-Appropriate Doses of Reality
One of a parent’s greatest fears is that an idealistic child will fall in with the wrong crowd. Cults, political extremists and environmental fringe groups all vie for impressionable youngsters’ attention at college, online and elsewhere. While it is a child’s innate will to change the world, parents can inoculate a young person against being susceptible to the lure of radicalism.
Matthew 15:14b teaches that a blind person in search of a guide must avoid hooking up with another blind person, or both will come to a bad end. Do not shelter a child from the realities of life but instead provide age-appropriate small doses that show problems and the steps taken to solve them. Take your children to visit soup kitchens; volunteer with them at animal shelters; join beach cleanups or neighborhood beautification projects.
Children who understand that there are established ways of changing the world — and that it involves hard work and sweat — are less likely to fall for the inflammatory rhetoric of a radical group.
Should You Encourage Your Child to Change the World?
In a word: yes. A Christian child will likely have the urge to either change the world for Christ or at least restore some of its pre-fall beauty. Work with a pastor or youth minister to find appropriate missions trips for the youngster; some offer these opportunities to enrolled college students. Other faith communities offer opportunities for community service to high school and even elementary school students.
These volunteer opportunities help the children to build character, establish a spiritual approach to changing the world and also provide the realization that although young they can make a difference.
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