Growing up in a household without any siblings is one of the most defining parts of my child and personal journey. Oftentimes, children are defined by their ranking in the birth order of their family. The oldest usually ends up being the “type A” overachiever while the middle child is constantly striving to be seen and heard. These generalities sometimes come to fruition and other times couldn’t be more wrong. But what about the only child? If you’re the parent of an only child, there’s no comparisons to be made between children. It’s a unique and special opportunity! As an only child, and also one who ADORED being the one and only, I thought I’d share a few of my observations from my own journey to provide insight on what it means to guide an only child toward Christ.
We have all be in that place of feeling unnoticed, unwanted or maybe even overlooked. We've all also felt what it's like to be welcomed with open arms, wanted and loved. If you have a beating heart, I'm sure you can relate to all of these high and low feelings.
I would say that one of the top questions I get asked by parents on a regular basis is “how do I talk to my student about…?” Talking to middle school students sometimes feels like one of the most intimidating things you can do, especially if it is on a hot topic issue. First off, I want to assure you that you are not alone in your struggle to start a conversation with your student. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent and it doesn’t mean that you don’t know your own child. Just as your student is growing and changing, so is your relationship. You both have come so far from your conversations being, “don’t touch that!” or “that wasn’t kind.” Now, there’s bigger issues on the table and way more questions and negotiating to be done. You now have the amazing and joyous opportunity to start having conversations about your student’s faith and personal relationship with Jesus. And they now can actually communicate things back to you in pretty adult ways sometimes! That’s huge! But it’s also really scary. I know many of you will immediately read this and say, “I can’t get my student to talk to me about what they did at school. How am I supposed to talk to them about God?” Stay with me here and let me share with you a few tips I’ve picked up along the way!
Our small groups are based around the concept of building a Christian community between students and adult leaders. Some of these practices can be adopted in the home to create an environment where faith development will occur with your family.
Our staff always loves to hear the stories of other peoples’ journeys and how they ended up where they are at in life. For the next few months, we are going to be sharing parts of our stories so you can get to know each of us and how we ended up here at Asbury and in Student Ministry! So here’s a little bit about me…
Before we know it, the school year will be upon us once again! Every fall, big transitions happen for students at just about every level. Some of the big ones of course are those big jumps from 5th to 6th grade, 8th to 9th, and 12th to college. The fun part about transitions is that on top of their natural tendency to disrupt daily life, every single one of your students handles transition differently! How fun! And on top of that, every change has its own fallout.
I think one of the biggest lies that this world tells us is that we are the only one feeling a certain emotion or experiencing a certain circumstance. These thoughts make us feel alone and like we are on an island; which makes us want to shove our anxiety, pain and shame further down. Parents have called me countless times, feeling like they are at the end of their ropes and feeling like their student is the only one misbehaving, struggling or being dishonest. Every time I have one of these conversations, I hear the despair in these parent’s voices, hoping for something better for their kids; wishing they knew what they could do to make this situation change.