Several of my friends and I have grandchildren who have started kindergarten this year. As a former kindergarten teacher myself, I have been very interested in how their initiation into formal education has begun.
It is revealing to see how different children view this common experience. Some responses to my “casual” questioning have been –
- I like PE the best.
- I like recess the best.
- My teacher is nice because she gives me books.
- I’m the tallest.
- I’m the teacher’s best helper.
- ____ can’t speak English so I am helping him.
- We are learning letters, but I already know them.
- I like math the best.
- My teacher is nice.
- I like library time best.
The overwhelming response has been positive and I am so thankful. After all, at least 12 more years of schooling looms ahead for these kindergarteners!
The most important issue is that each child has potential – potential in the Kingdom of God.
Luke 9:47-49 (NIV)
47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
We easily declare that all children have potential. The potential will not necessarily result in “success” by the standards of our current culture. Too often today success is measured by popularity, wealth and material possessions, or notoriety in athletics or entertainment.
Jesus valued children because they demonstrated unconditional love, faith, and trust. Each child has potential to experience God’s unconditional love – most often through their parents.
To help our children reach their God-given potential, God has placed them in our families to nurture and care for. We must demonstrate to them and for them our faith and trust in God and His word. We have no idea what lies ahead for our children. We do know that without a doubt there will be trials and difficult times ahead. Our children will suffer hurts and rejection.
Yet, God is faithful.
Our great potential is that we can become the children of God.
John 1:11-13 (NLT)
11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
God’s plan from the beginning was to bring us into relationship with himself. As parents we have the responsibility and privilege to share this highest of potentials with our children.
May God empower us to fulfill this challenge.