This is a long overdue post…
I experienced a scene between a child and an adult that drives home a big lesson. We were at a prayer meeting that was to last a few hours. Understanding how restless children can be, I wasn’t surprised to see some of the children in attendance talking on the side, roaming around and playing silently after the first hour.
I tried cautioning one of the chirpy girls who smiled at me and kept mute for a few minutes (but I knew it wouldn’t last long as they couldn’t really engage in the lengthy prayers).
While I was still pondering on the best way to engage them on the side without disturbing the praying adults, I heard a sharp rebuke from a woman to the same chirpy girl. As I turned to the situation, I saw the girl was upset and muttering some things under her breathe but she paused the moment she sighted me. She smiled to me and I explained to herself and the others why they needed to be quiet. I also gave them some quiet edifying activities to engage them while we prayed. They were happy and the rest of the programme went peacefully.
It was clear to me from this experience that you have little or no influence on a child you have no relationship with. You are a stranger to there privacy so you can’t be invading it.
It is only when you have a relationship with a person that you can understand the person’s situation and attend to it effectively. You can’t just come from your high horse and begin to dish out instructions or advice to someone you have little or no relationship with.
A stranger to a child is not just someone they are meeting for the first time, but it is someone they have little or no loving relationship with. Infact, they might even respond positively to someone they are meeting for the first time, if they build a little rapport with that person.
Even as a parent, you can’t ignore the little details of your child’s life or day or school and expect the child to pay attention to your own details (either in the form of advice or instructions).
So let’s build healthy relationships with our little ones…