Last year one of our CentriKid Directors, Micheal Walley, wrote how to start conversations with kids. His three points were get on their level, be persistent, and be intentional. Read the post to see his explanation of each of those points. To broaden the picture today we are looking at how we best communicate with kids.
At CentriKid we practice speaking to kids on their level physically, as Walley notes to bend down or get on a knee to look a kid in the eye. Going further we see it is also important we are on kids’ levels mentally and emotionally whenever we communicate with them. Every kid is different so getting on their level in this sense of the word takes on a whole new meaning.
Know Their World
Answer these questions before you engage a child. What do I know about their history? What does their family structure look like? Where do they go to school? What do they like? What do they dislike? Never assume you know their world better than they do. If you do not know the answers to these questions, start here.
Engage Their World
Knowing them individually, about what things do you think they want to talk? Here is where you can begin to build a relationship. Engaging their world is easy once you genuinely know their world. The more you engage kids’ worlds increases the likelihood of kids sharing more of their world with you.
Engaging their world means sharing yourself. Yes, sharing your time and energy, but mostly sharing your world with them. Kids want to hear about your life. As a camp counselor I would stack my arm full of bracelets. I let kids know that at any point they could ask me the story of any of my bracelets. Normally they would choose the one that attracted them, so I could share my story and then connect with them over why they chose that bracelet. This is where I saw my biggest opportunities to invest with kids at camp.
Change Their World
We cannot change their world. 1 Corinthians 3 is clear that no one but God provides growth. However, God clearly uses the Christian to make a difference. Plenty of youth development organizations make a difference in kids’ lives. They do this by knowing the kids and engaging them, but they cannot make a change in eternity like our God can. If you really want to invest in kids and change their world. Constantly challenge them with the gospel.