By Wanda Parker
The first of three posts on Children and Competition.
I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry atkidtrek: sunday plus. I will continue writing about christian after school ministries here.
Every Tuesday I visit a different KidTrek Associate Center. Yesterday Bible Focus was a competition between two teams. A volunteer read the Bible story and then asked questions for which the teams had to come up with a consensus answer.
I was amazed as I watched 3rd through 6th graders work together on each team to come up with the correct answer. As I watched, I wondered if they would have been so engaged with listening to the scripture read if there wasn’t a reward being offered.
They were actually competing against themselves because each member on the team received a KidTrek Buck if the team’s answer was correct. Both teams worked on each question. There was also the sense of pride when they gave a correct answer.
The Secondary Nurturers were awesome as they interacted with the kids during the game. I don’t think the kids even realized they were learning. Yet when one of the Secondary Nurturers would ask his team a non-competitive question such as, “Would you have done what Joseph did? Why?” I had to fight back the tears as I listened to their responses; it was amazing to hear their depth.
They weren’t just getting the head knowledge – they had an understanding of the concept that God is all loving even though He takes us through difficult painful circumstances. They could even give personal examples of such.
A second grader at one point said, “Aw Devon, you know the answer; tell us.”
“No, you have to know the answer to get a Buck. Listen more carefully and you will get the next one” was Devon’s response.
In this interaction, they learned that lack of attention leads to negative consequences; paying attention leads to positive consequences.
When one team answered incorrectly while the other team answered correctly, the “losing” team spontaneously clapped for the winning team and said, “You guys are great.” The “winning” team thanked the “losing” team. There were no losers because of the guidance they received from their Secondary Nurturers.
In raising children we must be intentional in everything we do. We must think critically as we establish our philosophy of child rearing. We must go to the Bible continually to guide us in this process. Too often what appears to be good today can actually do more harm than good when one looks out into the future.
We must ask ourselves:
“HOW DOES CHILDHOOD RELATE TO ADULTHOOD?”
No matter where you go in the world, once a child is weaned, there are still decades during which the child depends on adults for subsistence. What is the reason for this time of childhood?
A child can learn how to use a computer at a fairly young age, but the judgment needed to discern the best use of the computer takes time. This judgment requires adults who are productive, empathetic and wise to guide the child through real life experiences. Children may become productive at varying ages dependent on their culture; however the empathy and wisdom needed for total self-sufficiency takes decades.
Children need long-term relationships with adults who are productive, empathetic and wise.
These are the characteristics we want to see replicated in children that they too become self-sufficient adults.
What are some tools that children will need as adults to be productive,empathetic and wise?
They need to learn how to handle:
- Pain – both physical and emotional
- Decision making
- Peer pressure
They will need to have:
- A work ethic
- Critical thinking skills
- Knowledge of biblical truth
- Discernment of justice
- Know Who They Are
Further Posts On Using Competition in the Nurturing of Children.
 For reading ease the male pronoun will be used through out the paper as an inclusive pronoun for both genders.