14
Oct
13

Why Act This Way?

I want to create a dialogue about the spiritual formation of children. Realize that 35% of the world’s population falls in the ages of 4-14 years old. What if we adapted the best of chronological storying, discovery processes and obedience-based discipleship to the character development of children? What if we began to intentionally form the worldview of the children around us? What if we developed materials that others could use to shape the worldview of their children?

Most of the worldview studies I have read assume people already have a developed worldview since they are largely discussing adults. My earlier posts explored the value of using storying to reset worldview in people who grew up with something other than a Judeo-Christian one. A discovery process is critical to allow the biblical message to sink deep enough for a Kingdom of Heaven worldview to begin replacing the existing worldview. For children, the process is simpler since it is about the initial formation of the answers to the critical questions.

Kwast, "Understanding Culture"

Kwast, “Understanding Culture”

Parenting often focuses on the “Behavior–What is done?” level. We want our children to behave in ways that allow them to fit into their culture. We want them to stand out as exceptional, without standing out as “weird.” We want them to value things the way we do. We want them to believe like we do. But often we fail to consider the question of “What is real?” We assume the answers we have for such a question are self-evident, thus they will automatically be held by our children. Is such an assumption wise?

While behavior is important, the emerging values, beliefs and worldview which drive it are critical. Be sure your parenting and grand parenting goes deeper!

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10 Responses to “Why Act This Way?”


  1. 1 Sarah
    October 14, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Great stuff! I am grappling with what this looks like as a parent. My husband and I took the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class at our church last year, and it has really challenged us to think about what we believe and why. On the other hand, I do feel that because I homeschool and am a ‘thinker’ myself, I can take the next 8 to 10 years that I have left with our 2 children (8 and 10), and help them (and myself) to understand the worldviews that lie below our behavior. That journey is one I’m excited to be on and feel equipped for, or at least I know where to find the resources to equip myself.
    My involvement in children’s ministry at church, and in general, is something I really wish I understood more though. I believe the main way God created children to learn their worldviews is through daily interaction and conversations with adults. It’s the constant little things in life that really feed into the child’s worldview. And I struggle with how much of an impact I can make on them for one hour a week, and, for one year, since I only have them for 1st grade. Are there ways of telling the weekly bible stories that we can use to really impact them, to be strategic? I am also coming up with a curriculum to go along with next year’s Perspectives class that we are hosting, for the kids, that goes along with what the parents are learning. I have already figured out that I need/want to use stories-from Scripture and the Perspectives reading, to change their worldview at a deeper level. But I’m not exactly sure what that will look like. I took the Bible Discovery Training class and love using that idea, but at a child’s level. And then tie in one of the stories from the Perspecctives book, to what we learn from the Scripture passage.
    Anyway, not sure why I shared all that, other then to say that I’m excited to read what you are writing about children’s worldviews, and if you have any other resources that you think would be helpful, please pass them my way. Thanks and God bless!

    • October 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Sarah, thanks for commenting. I appreciate the detail of your response, because it allows me to see some of the ways the posts connect with your life trajectory. You are correct when you raise the concern that one hour a week for one year of a child’s life has great limitations. I really think the best thing you can do with that opportunity is model how deeply the biblical stories impact your life and also find ways to encourage their parents to dialogue with them throughout the week about the story. Your efforts to provide Perspectives parents the resources to involve their children in age-appropriate exposure to each week’s material is excellent and right in line with what I think Sunday School and/or Children’s Church ought to do.

      I want to encourage you to consider using technology to involve parents. We all need reminders. Many need someone to break it down to practical actions we can take to build on what the children heard from the Word. Are there related audio passages that parents could play in the car when they are with their children?

      Using biographies of significant missionaries is a great way to help children entertain new possibilities. Finding outreach opportunities to immigrant communities could be meaningful. I know a family in Nashville that is developing a community garden (in their own backyard) for a refugee community that feels isolated from their rural roots. Taking your children along to this type of interaction could be enriching.

      The critical need, though, is for the parents to have deep consistent dialogue with their children about spiritual matters. Reflect back on the songs. Discuss a point from the sermon. Share life experiences that illustrate key principles. Debrief any of the above activities. Doing them is one thing. Openly exploring what we learn about God takes these experiences to a whole new level.

      • 3 Sarah
        October 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        Thanks for your thoughts and ideas, I have chewed on them and will keep them in mind when planning the kids Perspectives class and for Sunday school as well. It does seem that engaging the parents is an important part of being strategic. I agree with Chuck in my concern about taking kids out of their ‘oikos’, that God has placed them in, to lead them to Christ. So finding that balance of encouraging the kids to obey their parents, while also engaging them on questions of worldview that they tell me go against what their parents say, will be something I’ll need to wrestle with. And even that changes with the various ages and personalities and parental involvement, to some degree anyway. I’m a parent that considers myself the main influence in my children’s lives as they establish their worldviews. So to have parents give me their children, expecting me to actually change their child’s worldviews surprises me some, even though I’ve been doing it for a long time! I’m fully conscious of the fact that my worldview is probably quite different from the parents, and for young children to have multiple authorities in their lives, telling them incomparable worldviews, can really be hard on a kid. No wonder they rebel as teenagers, how incredibly confusing for them! I think you are right though, pointing out how God has used his Word, stories and his power to change my life, will be compatible in all worldviews and the ultimate basis of truth I want to give them as they eventually go out and find truth for themselves.
        So much to think through. I feel the burden/blessing of every child God puts under my care, even if only for one hour a week for a year.

  2. October 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I think it’s a great idea. One person described children as “the 4-14 window”. Here’s a question I have since the DMM philosophy is based on the “oikos”. By focusing on this “window” are we trying to go against the natural structure of the oikos or is this a tool to equip the converted oikos?

  3. 9 Walekani Moster Nyirenda
    October 14, 2013 at 10:47 am

    John, this would be very helpful indeed. Keep on. Moster


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