Acknowledge Sinning Against Children

How do you feel when someone acknowledges they’ve hurt you? Maybe they ask to be forgiven. In Matthew 18:6 we learn that Jesus is displeased (to put it mildly) when we cause children who believe in Him to sin. When we acknowledge we hurt them, their heart is helped.

Lie #4: “I Am My Own Authority”

Last Sunday, it was my great joy to facilitate a small group in my church who has been going through my book Screens and Teens. I was asked to teach about the fourth lie I address in my book: I am my own authority. I thought I would share what we did in hopes that you might find this a valuable way to spend some time with adults or teenagers in your life.

To review and to begin thinking about this lie, I asked what evidence they saw in the past week that each of the first three lies is believed by people. I also asked how that lie is related to the lie that we think we don’t need anyone else’s authority. We had a great discussion and I think you can as well.

  • Lie #1: I am the center of my own

What’s the evidence people believe this?

How is it related to the lie that I can be my own authority?

  • Lie #2: I deserve to be happy all the time.

What’s the evidence people believe this?

How is it related to the lie that I can be my own authority?

  • Lie #3: I must have choices.

What’s the evidence people believe this?

How is it related to the lie that I can be my own authority?

Then, after reviewing information in the chapter from the book about the authority lie, I asked three questions.

  • What are the dangers of no authority?
  • What are the dangers of bad authority?
  • What are the benefits of good authority?

Discussing these questions with your teens could be profitable. Also, ask them to define “bad authority” and “good authority” and see if you agree. Share your definitions.

How would you discuss the benefits of God’s authority? Or maybe you could spend time discussing reasons God is a good authority for us to trust. That’s what I chose to do.

I listed some of the attributes of God to make the point that it’s Who He is that should allow us to trust Him as authority. And isn’t the same thing true of us? It’s who we are that is going to encourage people to view us as an authority and to trust us as authority. It is not the number of policies or rules we set. It is not how we do or do not deal with those who break them. It’s about our character, our identity, and our essence.

You could discuss this idea, too, if you believe it would be worthwhile or simply reflect on this list by yourself. In what ways do you see the quality related to God’s trusted authority?

  • Wisdom (The ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve these ends by the most perfect In other words, God makes no mistakes.)
  • Infinitude (God knows no boundaries.)
  • Sovereign (God is in control of everything that happens.)
  • Holy (God is set apart from all created beings. This refers to His majesty and His perfect moral purity.)
  • Omniscient (God is all-knowing.)
  • Faithful (Everything that God has promised will come to pass.)
  • Loving (God holds the well-being of others as His primary concern.)
  • Omnipotent (God is all-powerful.)
  • Self-sufficient (God has life in Himself. He has no needs and there is no way He can improve.)
  • Just (God does not conform to some outside criteria. Being just brings moral equity to everyone.)
  • Immutable (God never changes.)
  • Merciful (God is actively compassionate and kind toward those who don’t deserve it.)
  • Good (God is kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.)
  • Gracious (God enjoys acting on His love and giving great gifts to those who love Him, even when they do not deserve it.)
  • Omnipresent (God is always present.)

I’ll end the blog like I ended our group discussion. Here is your homework assignment. If you claim that God is your authority, what is the evidence? In other words, if I spent 24 or 48 hours with you, how would I know that God is your authority? As I thought about this last week in preparation for Sunday’s lesson, I was both encouraged and humbled. I set goals for this week. Perhaps you’ll do the same.

“How to Insure Your Kid Won’t Walk Away From the Faith After Graduation” Guest Post by Sue Bohlin

If you’ve heard me speak lately, you’ve probably heard me mention my concerns about young people leaving their faith and the church behind after graduating from high school. The statistics are discouraging. It’s a reason I was motivated to write Screens and Teens

For many years, I’ve respected the multi-faceted work of Probe Ministries www.probe.org. Perhaps you’ve heard me interviewed on Point of View radio www.pointofview.net with Kerby Anderson, the president of Probe.

Because I want you to know about Mind Games, their summer one-week program for 17-21 year-olds held near Denton, TX, north of Fort Worth, I’ve asked Sue Bohlin to blog for me today. The first four recommendations are for you – no matter the age of your kids. #2 is my favorite. We should all do it. All of us! #5 is send them to Mind Games. I sincerely hope you’ll read through and consider the information if you have a 17-21 year-old.

How to Insure Your Kid Won’t Walk Away From the Faith After Graduation – by Sue Bohlin

That title sounds like clickbait, doesn’t it? What parent doesn’t want to make sure their not-ready-for-prime-time young adult will continue to walk with the Lord, honoring Him with their life, and making wise, biblically-based decisions? Wouldn’t it be great if such a 5-point guaranteed method existed?

Too bad. It’s doesn’t. Life isn’t like that. We can’t control other people like that.

But I can make some suggestions that have made a difference in other families.

  1. PRAY. And never stop. Our children are the targets of spiritual warfare. They are hated by the enemy of our souls who hates God, hates His people, and wants to destroy our children.
  2. From the time they are itty-bitty, play “Spot the Lie.” Pay attention to the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil (1 John 2:16), and talk about them with your children when you’re sitting at home, when you’re walking and driving, when you’re putting them to bed, and when they get up in the morning (Deuteronomy 6:7). For example, one day when my now-grown children were in elementary school, the car radio played Bette Midler’s song “From a Distance,” which says that God is watching us from a distance. I asked, “Is that true?” My sons thought about it and said, “No! He’s right here with us!” Exactly. We spotted the lie. And called it what is was.
  3. Educate yourself about how to answer the Big Questions of Life so you can talk to your kids about them: How do we know there is a God? How do we know we can trust the Bible? How do we know Jesus is God? Why does a good God allow pain and evil and suffering?

What makes kids walk away from the faith is usually having unanswered questions. They might not ask for fear of a lame answer, or they might deduce that they shouldn’t doubt, shouldn’t question the things we teach them, and they should “just have faith.” Well, here’s the thing: we should trust our lives and our eternities to Christ not because of warm fuzzy feelings, but because Christianity is true!  Do you know WHY it’s true?

Let me recommend a couple of new books, written by moms to equip other parents to be confident in their own faith so they can effectively teach it to their kids.

Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith by Natasha Crain is super accessible and understandable. One of the best apologetics books I’ve seen.

Teaching Others to Defend Christianity by Cathryn Buse is written by a former NASA engineer (now a stay-at-home mom of littles) who uses her “mad logic skillz” to walk the reader through the basic Big Questions of Life in an organized way.

One other resource: a few months ago I was asked to speak to a group of moms on “Apologetics for Parents of Littles.” You can download the recording here and get the handout here.

4. Talk to your kids about these big questions of the Christian life: about God, the Bible, Jesus, pain and suffering. Ask them what they think and how they’re working through these very important issues. Talk about these things before they leave your nest after high school!

5. One final suggestion: send your kid(s) to Probe Ministries’ Mind Games camp, a one-week total immersion in worldview and apologetics, both classic apologetics (those Big Questions of Life) and cultural apologetics, such as Grace and Truth About LGBT, Genetic Engineering, The Differences Between Guys and Girls, How to Watch a Movie, Christian Views of Science and Earth History, and more. It’s a faith-builder and question-answerer, with lots of free time for fun and connecting with other campers. For many of the campers, it deeply impacts their hearts and souls, nailing down the glorious fact that Christianity is TRUE! My husband I have been privileged to pour into high school and college students through Mind Games for over 20 years; it is truly our joy! This year it’s June 11-17 at Camp Copass in Denton, Texas. Check out the videos and lots of information at probe.org/mindgames.

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women’s Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can’t Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her “Proverbs 31 job” while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn’t like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

Bless Them

Dr. Kathy shares how ways Jesus Christ related to children while He walked on earth can motivate us to relate to children differently. In Mark 10:16, we learn that “Jesus took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” What do you think they learned from this? What might we need to do so they’ll learn similar things from us?

God’s Wisdom & The “Logic Smart”

He approached me at our exhibit space like a lot of other parents. But, he didn’t want to talk about his children. Like often happens, my teaching about the 8 great smarts had affected him personally.

To make the point that the way children are smart can influence the way we present the gospel I had shared part of my story. Because I’m very logic smart, when I was young, I had many questions about God, church, and differences among churches.

When I was 19, at one of my many meetings with my pastor, he answered more of my questions, affirmed that it was okay to have questions, and shared what we learn about Jesus from Colossians 2:3:

“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

That truth was a turning point for me. As I said in the seminar this dad attended, I needed God’s wisdom. At the time, I didn’t think I needed His love. So often people talk about God’s love. That’s understandable. Everyone needs love and God’s love is profound. Yet, it’s not the only thing that’s powerfully true about God.

He is also the wisdom we need. As a logic-smart person, it’s what I knew I needed. As an introvert deeply loved by an extended family, I thought I had enough love.

After trusting Christ as my Savior and Lord, I began to understand how much I needed God’s love and how much loving Him back would encourage me. But, love never would have been the initial draw to Christ for me.

I knew the gospel – Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead. I believed that. Because I’m logic-smart, I wanted this to make sense. I wanted to be able to explain it to others. I sometimes say that faith is hard for logic-smart people because it can’t be easily explained. Knowing this about me, my pastor shared Colossians 2:3. He also taught me that the Holy Spirit would teach me and help me understand Scripture after I believed. That was the other missing piece for me.

This dad was encouraged to know he wasn’t alone in searching for answers. He admitted to sometimes doubting and being angry with himself for wanting to know more about things others just seemed to accept as truth. He appreciated being affirmed for wanting wisdom. He was validated and said he could now relax. That’s huge!

What about you? Do you know anyone for whom God’s wisdom would be important to talk with them about? Don’t delay.

I Want You to Talk to Your Kid about My Kid – Guest Blog Post by Dawn Ratzlaff

Advocate: “a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.; a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.”

I have great respect for moms and dads who are advocates for their children. It’s among their most important roles. My friend, Dawn, is that type of parent.

Dawn blogs about “a look inside life with a child on the spectrum” at “A Fly on the Wall.” I’ve known Dawn, her husband, Jon, and their son Enoch for several years. I was glad to meet their younger sons a few weeks ago.

Dawn recently blogged vulnerably about what she wishes other children knew about autism so they could better relate to their son. In honor of moms and their commitment to their children, I’m posting her blog here. I’m also posting it because I agree that we could all benefit from better understanding autism from a mom’s perspective. I hope her passion and information inspires you to sit down and talk with your children.

I Want You to Talk to Your Kid about My Kid – by Dawn Ratzlaff

A couple of months ago, a little girl at church asked me, “Is Enoch a baby?”

“No… He’s six years old!”

Then why does he wear diapers?”

“Well, Enoch hasn’t learned how to use the potty yet.”

“Why?”

“Enoch has something called autism. Because of that, his brain works a little different from yours. So, he hasn’t learned how to use the potty yet. Or talk. But hopefully he will someday.”

“Ok!”

The interaction was short, and my answer seemed to be all she needed in the moment. But, I thought to myself, “They’re starting to notice that he’s different.” 

I wondered if when she went home if she would ask her parents about Enoch. What would they say? Do they know Enoch has autism? Do they understand what autism is? How can they explain my child’s differences to their typically developing child?

Yesterday, we went to the museum. While we were there, a little boy asked Enoch to play with him in the sandbox.

He said, “Do you want to play with me?”

Enoch said, “Yes!”

“Great! Start getting sand.”

Blank stare. “Otay!” (Okay)

“Okay, now you need to do this….” “Why aren’t you talking?” “Why are you talking like that?” “No, use your REAL voice.” “I don’t understand you….”

Enoch just smiled and continued trying to play with the little boy, and the little boy kind of played with Enoch, but he seemed to lose some interest when he realized Enoch was different.

I wanted to step in. I wanted to talk for him. I wanted to tell the little boy that Enoch didn’t have many words, but that he understood everything. Instead, I decided to sit back and observe. We weren’t going to see this little boy again.

The little boy was with a sister, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. What would they say when we left? What did the grandparents think? What do they know about autism? Can they tell he has autism? How will they explain my child to their grandchild?

You may be reading this, and you don’t know my child. But, the chances are you know a child (or an adult) with autism.

The current statistics state that 1 in 68 children is on the autism spectrum. For boys, the prevalence is higher with 1 in 42 boys on the autism spectrum.

That many.

That is a LOT of children.

Unfortunately, the statistics on adults on the spectrum are not as clear because many went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as children.

Yet, despite the prevalence, people who don’t live with it don’t understand it.

Even 2 years after Enoch was diagnosed, a close family member asked me, “But, isn’t autism a psychological problem?”

NO… 

Autism is a NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER.

NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM. 

(For the record, I was hurt that after 2 years, this family member had not done any research to educate themselves about my child. Why didn’t they ask questions before? It wasn’t that the question was wrong, it was the perceived notion that they did not care enough to learn.) 

It makes me think: “if a family member of a child with autism cannot learn about the disorder, why would anyone else?”

So, here’s a little bit about autism:

Autism is a neurological disorder. Enoch’s brain works differently. He perceives things differently. Because of this, some situations are overwhelming for him and he may react in a way that does not seem typical.

Autism is a spectrum. I once read, “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.” That statement is very true. Over the past several years, I have been able to build relationships with many families who have kiddos on the spectrum, and they are ALL DIFFERENT. While some children are able to talk well, others like Enoch, have very few words. While some may be perceived as anti-social, Enoch is very friendly. He desires so much to have friends.

However, there are things that pretty much everyone on the spectrum has in common (there do have to be guidelines to diagnose it after all).

If a child has not met developmental milestones at the usual time, this is a big red flag. Typically all skills will be delayed including fine motor, gross motor and oral motor. Enoch did not walk until he was 22 months old. At 6.5, he is starting to approximate words. He struggles greatly with fine motor skills. He is still no where close to being potty trained. (I have been changing diapers/ pull ups for 6.5 years straight with no end in sight.) He did not learn to jump until he was 5.5.

These delays are NOT caused by bad parenting. Please do not think poorly of a parent if their child is on the spectrum. They have been through a lot. They have had feelings of guilt. They have questioned if it is their fault. It isn’t. They love their child and they work SO hard to help their child on a daily basis. They take their children to therapy. They take their children to doctor’s appointments. They do not have much time alone because they are constantly alert in watching after their child. At this point, we don’t know WHAT causes autism. Science points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In Enoch’s case, I truly believe autism is something he was born with. 

Communication struggles are highly prevalent in autism. While some can talk, they struggle with connecting with others. They may not speak unless prompted to do so. Enoch’s main method of communication is American Sign Language (ASL). He is also learning to use an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) device in the form of an iPad app. You may see a child on an iPad and think poorly of the parents. But, that may be that child’s means of communicating. And both sign language and AAC do not hinder communication. They enhance it! Enoch is now starting to approximate words, and I attribute much of that to our work with ASL and AAC.

This does not mean that a child on the spectrum is not smart. Enoch is VERY smart. Despite not being able to talk, he is word smart. He can spell. He can read. He enjoys math and science. He is on a typical Kindergarten level in a majority of his subject areas. His biggest delay academically is in writing (because of poor fine motor skills).

Many people on the spectrum struggle with gastrointestinal issues. When Enoch was an infant, he would have a bowel movement once a week. I remember thinking that was so strange. I asked our pediatrician about it, and he said, “It must be Enoch’s normal.” For the past several years now, we have visited a gastroenterologist for both chronic diarrhea and chronic constipation. There aren’t really many answers for this link, but there is a lot of research in the past few years about the connection between the gut and the brain.

Many children on the spectrum are picky eaters. Enoch is one of them. I can quickly make a list of the limited foods he will eat, and it is getting worse. When we visited with a nutritionist about a year a half ago, and I listed what he will eat she said, “Yep! That sounds about like what all the kiddos on the spectrum that see me will eat.” She was however surprised by his love of hummus and bananas.

Social situations and highly stimulating situations can be overwhelming. Again, those on the autism spectrum perceive their surroundings differently from those who are neurotypical. Enoch tends to have what you might consider a meltdown in some of these situations. For him, haircuts are the absolute worst. Because of that, his hair was very long for a long time. This was much more involved than a child who did not want a haircut. As parents, we would tire of the constant comments. “He needs a haircut.” “He looks like a girl.” “Why don’t you cut his hair?”

Many on the spectrum are drawn to water. (And do not understand the danger associated with it.) This includes Enoch. He is extremely drawn to water. Extremely. I will turn down invitations to anything with a pool or close to a body of water or any kind because the thought of it brings me close to a panic attack (this is NOT an exaggeration). We cannot visit certain family members houses because they have a pool. Even if he had swim lessons (which we will do at some point), because of his poor motor skills, he would not be able to swim at this time. He just learned how to blow. Sort of.

Drowning is among the leading cause of death of individuals with autism.” For more information on safety concerns associated with autism please visit: http://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/autism-safety-facts/

Children on the spectrum often experience sleep disturbances. Enoch has been an early riser as long as I can remember. He seems to be able to function on much less sleep than I have ever been able to. Most mornings, he is awake between 4:00 and 5:00. Sometimes, I hear him before that and need to go in his room to turn out his light, tell him to stop playing and try to get more sleep. At the recommendation of our pediatrician, we lock his door from the outside to avoid potential safety issues. However, we can hear him playing in his room, LOUDLY, so the rest of us don’t get much sleep either. Lately, he is reading to himself, which I love. Who would have thought he would become such a bookworm? Not me. 

All this said, maybe your child knows another child on the spectrum. They know this other child is different. They don’t understand why this child is different. YOU may even look at this child and think they are “weird”. You may be concerned by their behavior because you don’t understand it yourself. I think it is important that children understand now, so that when they are older they learn to be compassionate and not mean when they encounter someone who is different from them.

(And I think this point goes along with ALL differences, but that’s a whole different blog post, and something I know less about.)

A few suggestions:

  1. Talk to the parent. Talk to me. Ask questions. There are not wrong questions. Most parents of children on the spectrum are open books. We want to share with you about our children. We want you to understand.
  2. Schedule a playdate. Let your kid spend some time with the child in a different setting. Perhaps they have only seen how they act at school or church. Sometimes those settings can be overwhelming. Be aware that the child’s parents may rather you come to their home (because their child is more comfortable there). Do it. Don’t take offense, it isn’t because we aren’t interested in coming to your home.
  3. Ask your kid questions. They may have more answers than they know. Ask them: “Why do you think _________ is different?” “Is there anything that ___________ likes to do that you like to do?” ” How does it make you feel when _______________ does that?”
  4. Remind your child that we are ALL different. The one thing we all have in common is that we were all made by a loving God IN HIS IMAGE. God made Enoch. When God made Enoch, He did not make a mistake.

I want you to talk to your kid about my kid.

This is written by Dawn Ratzlaff. She and her husband, Jon, live in Dallas, TX, with their 3 sons. Jon is a minister of music at a local church, and Dawn stays home with the kids. Enoch, their oldest, is 6.5, and has moderate- severe autism. Their twins, Malachi and Titus are (almost) 2. The 3 of them are a handful, and Dawn can’t imagine her life any other way. She enjoys cooking, baking, singing, playing the piano, writing, and drinking (lots of) coffee. If you want to follow her blog, you’ll find it here.

May 14th is Mother’s Day – As Mother’s Day approaches, let’s increase our sensitivity to women. Let’s not flippantly wish women a “Happy Mother’s Day.” Dr. Kathy reminds us that it’s not a great day for everyone. You’ll appreciate her recommendation that we pray for …. Listen to find out!

“Smarts” Help Us Communicate In Life-Enriching Ways

All of us at Celebrate Kids believe so firmly in the value of conversation that we post a question worth asking children on our Facebook page every weekday. We also designed an app that publishes a question every day to ask children. For example, yesterday’s was “What’s one thing you learned in “science, health, history, art, etc.) today?” That question will most likely get more details from children than the more typical, “How was school?” and “What did you learn today?” And, if you know your children have art on Tuesdays and you remember to ask about art on Tuesdays, they’ll know you’re paying attention. That blesses children!

Further evidence that we know parents and kids need to talk is found in the subtitle of my book about technology’s influence on children’s beliefs and behaviors. It’s “Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World.”

As I wrote about in the last several blogs, children need parents to talk to so they can reap all the benefits possible from playtime and even from the technology we allow them to use. They also can learn skills through conversation.

If you haven’t read these blogs and would like to do so, here are the links:

Remembering to use the 8 great smarts doesn’t just help us play well with kids. They can also help our conversations go well. There are several things to consider when wanting to use your knowledge of multiple intelligences when talking with children:

  • Children will often talk more when involved in activities that are their strengths and that they enjoy. Rather than having serious conversations over meals or while just sitting with your children, try engaging them while they’re busy.
  • Children may be more willing to talk about the things they enjoy related to the smarts and then you can transition from those topics to other things you want to talk about.
  • Children may listen and talk more when you bond over your similar interests and abilities. You can tell stories about your past use of one of the smarts that one of your children is currently expressing an interest in. You can ask questions about how they do something that you do differently. Connections strengthen conversations.

And, of course, just talking about the smarts may keep the conversations going. Often starting with something children are familiar with and then transitioning to something you need to talk about works. For example:

  • Nature-smart children may want to talk with you about plants, animals, rocks, stars, wind, and any number of things relevant to nature. They also think with patterns so talking about the design of things can engage them.
  • Body-smart children will enjoy talking about their favorite sport, teams, and athletes that they may follow or watch on television. Or, maybe their body-smart ability is demonstrated through dance or acting. When that’s the case, talking about those things will be wise. They think with movement and touch so don’t expect them to engage deeply with you if they must sit still and keep their hands to themselves.
  • Self-smart children think with reflection so asking them questions and giving them time to think before expecting them to answer deeply is respectful. They may enjoy interacting with you most about deep subjects that interest them. Asking them about how they formed their opinion and the reasons they believe what they believe will connect you well.
  • People-smart children will engage over just about any topic as long as they get to listen and talk. That’s the key. Don’t lecture. Discuss because they think with other people so they need your input and reactions.
  • Logic-smart children may enjoy talking about new discoveries and research they’d love to do. They think with questions so asking and answering them are keys to successful conversations. Don’t just ask questions you want answers to. Make sure to ask questions they’ll want to answer.
  • Word-smart children can talk about books they read recently. They may be interested in hearing about yours. Talking about their favorite words can be fun. They think by reading, writing, speaking, and listening so using all four can be profitable.
  • Picture-smart children may want to talk about why their favorite color is their favorite, why they enjoy the art mediums they do, and something they want to do when they’re older that is related to their creative abilities. They think in pictures so speaking with rich adjectives and vivid verbs can help them pay attention. Allowing them to tell stories about the things they see in their minds is helpful.
  • Music-smart children will love to talk about their favorite musical group and their favorite style of music. They may want to listen to yours and talk with you about it. They think with rhythms and melodies so don’t be surprised if they make music by tapping their foot or rolling their fingers on the table while you talk.

When we talk with children about their smarts or consider their smarts when talking and listening, it shows them that we know them and we care who they are.

Talking matters. Remembering all 8 smarts can help everyone have deeper and more satisfying conversations. I hope that happens for you and your kids!

Did you enjoy Diana Waring’s creative videos about the smarts that I shared here on my blog in January, February, and March? Did you miss some or have you wished you could conveniently watch them over and over again? We have great news. You can buy a DVD of the videos right here.

Unity Facilitates Respect And Security

I showed up to the meeting about 10 minutes before it was scheduled to begin. I looked around to see if my friends were there and they hadn’t arrived yet. So, as I typically do, I chose a chair on the center aisle and this time I chose the very back row.

My friends arrived within a few minutes and we visited while we waited for the meeting to begin. We were there to hear our chiropractor and his new colleagues talk about a treatment that might help heal our backs.

I was optimistic and positive before Dr. Gideon spoke because I’ve come to trust him. Yet, I knew listening for truths relevant to my situation was essential.

After Dr. Gideon welcomed everyone in his typically friendly way, he introduced one of his colleagues. Within a matter of minutes, I realized I was totally relaxed and definitely intentional about my listening. This man was engaging and enthusiastic. He was high energy, spoke fast, used humor, and asked us to answer questions. When he said he was glad we were there to learn, it was easy to think he meant it. He was clearly knowledgeable, but didn’t share to impress us. His motivation was clearly to inform and help us.

He transitioned to the next part of the meeting by introducing another business partner who was personal, vulnerable, energetic, and authentic. She was just as knowledgeable and engaging, but she expressed her enthusiasm in quieter ways. I was glad. I saw that the colleagues/speakers wouldn’t be performing and there wasn’t a mold they had poured them into. That would be disrespectful.

After sharing her testimony about the effects of the treatment being discussed, this partner introduced video testimonies and then the next doctor. Like those before her, she was gracious when introducing him as an important member of the team.

It was now his turn to explain why he was totally on board with the treatment being discussed. He reiterated what my chiropractor opened the meeting with – they each believe that the God Who created us is the God Who heals us.

It was easy for me to agree with what we were being taught. The information was clearly explained. Each speaker backed themselves up with data and patient testimonials. But my agreement was due to more than that.

It was the unity among the colleagues. It was compelling. The respect they showed all of us and each other was refreshing. Their public admission that they share the same values and passions made it easy for me to listen and learn. I believed I knew my chiropractor well enough to expect him to align only with fellow believers in Christ. But to see it happening was deeply encouraging. It put me at peace. It was security in them. It was security between them. Security was in the place, and it mattered.

Let the little children come to me.

When Jesus lived on earth, children were the forgotten generation. Yet, He interacted with them. Imagine what they felt when He said, “Let the little children come to me.” Is this our attitude toward children most days or do we try to live in a magic box as Kathy has in the past?