“The soul is healed by being with children.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
There is this amazing group of kids at my church back home that has taught me some incredible lessons and left a lasting impression on my life. Since moving away from them, I realized just how much they’ve inspired me. They came to our group wanting to know more about music, worship, and leadership. And just as the cliché would have it, I learned more from them than I could have ever hoped to teach. These are a few things I’ve learned from those awesome kids:
-Age isn’t an excuse to stop learning. I had far less motivation to really learn music when I was their age and they truly impressed me during every practice. Whenever I would say something about wishing I could play my guitar better, these kids would come back to me saying, “So, why don’t you just practice?” …Yup.
-They surprised me with their persistence and desire to serve God every time we took that stage. Simply learning to play their instruments was a demanding task on it’s own. But learning to play and worship in front of a crowd was a challenge they met with an incredible combination of uncertainty, vulnerability, and gumption.
-When there are problems, politics, and gossip in the church; kids notice. This group cared when people weren’t singing along with them. They cared about the words of the songs and the meaning behind them. They desperately wanted to be used by God and that left me feeling amazed and absolutely blessed.
-The gaps in our generations are a great reminder of the fact that although we are always changing; God is unchanging. I firmly believe this is where we find opportunities to see God’s humor at work, and ultimately to see Jesus more clearly. People of all generations in our church supported these kids, watched them grow, encouraged them to lead, and laughed at our silliness. And in turn, God used these kids to lead and to teach all ages. To all the naysayers out there, there is always hope for the next generation. They just need a little investment from us.
-Kids aren’t going to be leaders simply by listening to what we say. They are watching, they are noticing, and they are waiting for someone to invest in them. The couple hours a week we spent with these kids wasn’t the only investment. It was about being intentional and knowing that the time I spent with them was valuable; not because of what song we were learning that night but because of who those kids are and who I am because of them.
-They get this “God stuff” too. Some of my most spiritually exhilarating moments of the past two years have been while watching a group of kids realize that there is more to life than what is in front of them and that they truly matter in the eyes of God. These kids face a terrifying world in which their faith will be questioned even to the point of mocking and yet; they stick with it.
When I left my home and moved 5000 kilometers away from my family and my church, these words from a 14 year old comforted me in ways I cannot express. “It’s different without you here but it’s okay… God has something else planned” That little piece of wisdom encouraged me in my uncertainty and allowed me to catch a glimpse into God’s plan for my life. Amazing.