The reason that we were in Jaco for the week, was so that our speaker, Leslie Freeman, could continue her ministry and her kids could have their mom around. Jaco is about 2 hours from San Jose, and it was a real blessing for her to be able to teach from home. She has been a YWAM missionary since 1997, and has her master’s degree in education. She taught on child development, and it was the first time I have ever heard teachings on child development/psychology from a Christian perspective.
One of the things she said that really challenged my thinking, was that so often we take a few scriptures and make a doctrine about children, instead of applying the the whole Bible to children. Take these three scriptures for example. As you read them, think about your interactions with children, and how you would apply them to playing with, working with, or raising children:
- “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
- “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
- “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” (Proverbs 19:11)
We did exercises like this daily, and the Lord really convicted me of times I was too harsh on children that I worked with, or how my attitude was not Christ like. As Leslie shared with us, “being a more sensitive child care giver helps us to be a more sensitive Christian.”
We talked about a lot of topics I learned about in college- like attachment, resiliency, working models, and developmental growth. But because we were doing this with a Biblical focus, I felt as if I were learning it from a completely different angle.
I have been asked to share on this same topic for staff training at a children’s home in Juarez, Mexico next summer, and do a week of teacher training in Malawi this November, that will include much of what we covered last week. During my first few months in Zimbabwe (we are leaving in October) I will have the chance to observe and put a lot of it into practice. That is when my questions about attachment, observing protective factors, and teaching different skills at various age levels will be put into practice and become more practical knowledge.