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February 24, 2012

Valuable and Viable Influence

by Justin Williams
kids-on-school-bus-IC5022-63

Instructing Your Children and Students in the Way they Should Go.

Currently I have been serving at Brand New Church Huntsville as the Campus Pastor for going on 8 months now, and just recently I decided to drive a school bus for the Huntsville school district to supplement my income.  This is a good move for me, because it allows me to do three things that I really enjoy.  One influence and encourage children and teens, two drive, and three be a part of my local community.  This also allows me the freedom to minister throughout the day.  The reason I share this is because today while I was driving I was reminded of a very important lesson.  When working with children and teens, whether you are teaching, leading, ministering, or even just driving bus, you have to continually influence and ensure them that they are valuable and viable.

Here is what I mean by that…

Too often children are neglected physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Many times they lack proper nutrition, affection, admonition, love, and spiritual guidance.  This is a truth that all of us are aware of, but often times our blinders are up, because of our spheres of influence.  We all have our own little bubbles consisting of family, friends, church, and our workplace, and often times the children and teens within that circle reflect our own children.  Because of this we become blinded to the needs of other children.  I am very grateful to be able to work with kids from all kinds of backgrounds and poverty levels, because it is a constant reminder of the needs within our community.  Unfortunately, when children have needs that are unmet they begin to act out.  Foul language, lack of self-control, annoyance and arrogance, abusive behavior, and rebellion are often characteristics of a child who is acting out seeking attention, seeking to have a void or a need met.

I discovered many years ago when I first started driving a bus, I believe back in 2007, that if your attitude is all discipline and structure then the students you are working with will completely refrain from allowing you to positively influence them.  On the other hand if you instill and treat them as…

  • Valuable – to have value, important, and having qualities worthy of respect, admiration, esteem, and love.
  • Viable – vivid, real, intelligent, creative, and adventurous.  If you treat a child like an animal, they’re probably going to act like one.  Don’t be upset when it comes back to bite you in the butt.

I can ensure you that if you adapt your style of leadership and discipline to include value and viability you will begin to make a difference in your own children, as well as the children and teens in which you influence.  You will discover a change in their attitude and behavior.

I find that Jesus demonstrated this throughout scripture.  When the disciples refused the children from coming up to Jesus, He rebuked them, and said “Let the little children come unto me.”  In scripture Christ also tells that we are to have faith like a child.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

*Definition/Picture Provided by Dictionary.com/Harry Cutter
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