The Potential in Every Child

My good friend Rob shared this photo on facebook today:

Photo

That’s powerful.  We need to accept that the collective knowledge of humanity will always be limited by the extent to which we turn a blind eye to poverty.

Maya Angelou said:

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.  That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”

That is why the hard work of teachers and college tutors in the poor parts of our towns and cities is so vital.  If you are a fantastic teacher than please think about working, or staying, in the school where you can influence children and young people who others might not give a chance to.  Your care and effort could literally change the world.

And the same goes for health workers, social workers, youth workers, the police etc. etc.   Anything you can do to pave the way for a young person to get stuck into their education is making society a better place.

Do you know any kids you can invest some time and love into?  Take a chance and go for it and you might end up changing their lives and yours.

It’s Half-Term!

I’m really looking forward to this week – just got back from an inspiring and, dare I say it, life changing weekend in Germany and Poland with the YMCA and now it’s just me and Anya at home together for the whole of half-term!

It’s going to be a great week, I have one or two ideas for what to do but I thought I’d ask Anya what she wanted to do.  Bless her, her answer was, “You know when we go to the cash and carry….can I ride on top of the trolley!?”  I’m really proud of her that she is satisfied with such simple pleasures.

We’re off to go and get an extra ingredient for baking now and I will do my best to give her a wonderful, memorable week.  I really believe that some of the best gifts we can give our kids are shared memories together.  They can be simple, silly times together but I think they are worth so much more than expensive presents.

We’re also both looking forward to having the luxury of time so that we can do some Bible study and praying together.  Such a privilege to be a dad and I really don’t want to take it for granted.

Taking things for granted

I’ve been mildly ill the last couple of days and it has got me thinking of a few things I take for granted.

The first day I was ill I came back early with the kids from a festival we’d been at and where Rada was still working. So I found myself home alone, the kids in bed and no painkillers in the house.  As I miserably laid awake feeling sorry for myself I felt trapped in the house, not able to nip out to the 24 hour Tesco to get some Lemsip, because I couldn’t leave the kids alone.

And then I realised that there are millions of parents around the country for whom this is daily reality.  I really admire parents who have to bring up their children on their own.  Nobody to take over the responsibility when your having a bad moment, or a bad day. I am very grateful for the circumstance I find myself in.

And then, in my sorry state, I thought how hard it would be to get up and get the kids ready in the morning. But before I got too self indulgent I thought about parents in some other parts of the world whose children are absolutely dependent on the parents ability to provide.  How horrific it must be for them when they get ill, seriously ill.  They must feel absolute terror for their children.  I think we take a huge amount for granted in this country, I am very grateful.

Kids and Church Planting

Tim Simmonds has blogged about Planting Churches with Ninja Children.  It reminded me how much I take for granted how versatile and giving kids can be when it comes to the disruption and lack of routine that come with church planting.

It is a real privilege having our children share the church planting journey with us.  It is inspiring to have them with us at midweek group, they are great company in the car and in general it is simply nice to do be doing something productive and worthwhile together.  It also gives children great opportunities to improve their social skills as they meet new people and gain an understanding of the wider world – Anya regularly interacts with people from all sorts of cultures and is confident talking to with people with disabilities and addictions.

But there is a cost that church planting demands of children.  Sometimes it requires a change of school and they won’t get to hang out and make friends with as many children their own age as they might at bigger churches.  We are told time and again that children, and especially babies, need routine but when you’re taking the kids along to evening meetings and out all day on a Sunday then a routine can be impossible to keep!

Nevertheless, all these experiences do help a child to learn resilience and interdependence – essential skills for life.  I was wondering though, and would welcome input from those who may have had similar experiences, what areas or experiences would it be helpful for us to be particularly purposeful about providing for our two children?  Is there anything that it would be wise to put in place to make sure they don’t miss out on any specific area of spiritual or social growth?

Dad

I’m really gutted that Dad hasn’t been selected to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay next year.  I think the organisers have really missed a trick here.  If it comes to ranking people of this nation who are most appropriate and deserving to carry the torch surely Dad should have come somewhere near the top – he has that perfect mix of being a former Olympian and having devoted his life to helping, supporting and encouraging children and young people.

Does a day go by without Dad taking a coaching session, or teaching the kids from church, or running a community group, or spending ALL his spare time planning these things and reading up how to do them better?  No!  And that doesn’t even include the day job.

I think it would have been fitting for Dad to carry the torch but it wasn’t to be so I just thought I’d indulge myself and honour him on my blog instead.

A Very Proud Son.

Wounded children

Clever, clever Israel getting busy whilst the world is distracted by Libya and Japan.  This story not even in the top-6 BBC news items this morning.

Gaza Strip:  Israel launches air strikes

Also, with all the other news going on I seem to have missed the UN Resolution stating that Israel can carry out indiscriminate air strikes on children.  Clumsy me.

Apologies for being emotive and sarcastic.

City Kids as Signs of the Kingdom

I read an enlightening article over the weekend all about working with inner city children in Birmingham.  The author was exploring the biblical concept of receiving the Kingdom of God like a child.

One of her points was that when we truly accept children unconditionally then it is really us who will find salvation as much as the child:

“One educated Church Member, finding the behaviour of the children in the Fun Club unacceptable, had been critical of the work.  Out one day collecting for Christian Aid, she called at one of the many flats.  The door opened and she was surprised to see a familiar little face (a Fun Club child) looking up at hers.  With joy, the little girl rushed off and was heard to shout to her Mum, ‘It’s my friend at the door’!  The woman was moved to tears that the child should call her friend…and she changed.  In so many ways the children showed us how to be, open, powerless and free in the truth of Christ.” (Jane Grinonneau – City Kids as Signs of the Kingdom)