Thursday, February 28, 2008

more quotes

After I posted the random quote by C.S. Lewis I figured if I'm going to post a quote on Emerging Kids it probably ought to be about children, right? So I googled "quotes children".

Try these sites!

There are probably many sites. These seem to have a mixture from times and cultures (though mostly ours, yes). It's worth scrolling all the way down. Some are profound, some are funny, a couple are rather sad but they're worth reading.

. . . at your leisure . . .


"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

- C.S.Lewis

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thinking and Reading (LCW)

I've been thinking alot about Noah but I'm not going to post about it.

I also just finished the Barbara Woodhouse book Talking to Animals. If my prose sounds a bit stilted that's why. Mrs. Woodhouse was born in 1910. The book was written in 1954. I enjoyed it alot! I read it because she grew a reputation working with dogs in the UK. Turns out that her work with dogs got started about the time she finished this particular book so there isn't a lot about that. Talking to Animals is actually more about her work with cows and horses. LOL! God's joke on me? (I laugh because I grew up on a farm and there's a side of my working with Ellie and Nyah and helping at the Humane Society that is reclaiming part of the person God made me to be.) I still really enjoyed it. I'll spare you endless comparing of children and animals, though I could...

So, unless you want to hear about dog books, I've started another book ... I mentioned this book awhile back because it looked intriguing. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. Mr. Louv is chairman of the Children & Nature Network. His author's website is here.

Why is this important to a faith-based blog like Emerging Kids?
1) I already believe that our interaction with the natural world is important to our faith. He promises to tackle ways that "faith-based organizations can help reclaim nature as part of the spiritual development of children." I'll share quotes with you!
2) There are so many images and experiences in scripture that are tied to the God-created world. What if we lose touch with that world? What if we lose that point of reference? What will happen? Will it make the scriptures seem more irrelevant and obsolete than some already claim? What lessons will we miss?

Louv says, " the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience." [Last Child in the Woods, p. 3]

"Yet, at this very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature- in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies." [Last Child in the Woods, p. 3] Therapy or not, the out-of-doors is definately an alternative learning environment for kids diagnosed with ADD and for those facing other personal challenges. The out-of-doors as a learning environment is definately a consideration for Christian Educators.

More to think about: For centuries and generations, when children and adults wanted to "escape" or "get away" to ponder or recover or just to get a break where did they go? What did they do? When a child wants to escape today or if he needs to retreat and "get away" what does he do? Where does he go? I suggest the effects are different.

And yes, I realize that we're living in a world where few people feel safe anymore, especially outdoors and we don't let our children roam and explore the way other generations did. I hear you but I ask you, are the dangers outside all that different from the dangers of incessant video gaming or exploring the internet?

Ponder with me...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hearing- in and out of the classroom

We read a lot about listening and hearing in the scriptures, too.

The contrast of city and country. I think people who spend their first night in the country are surprised that it isn't really quiet. There are different sounds. Unfamiliar sounds. You learn to differentiate between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the significant and the insignificant. People living in the city learn the same skill - different sounds.

Close your eyes when you're sitting in a familiar place. What do you hear? Turn off all the artificial sounds. Now what do you hear? Find a "quiet" outside place. Close your eyes. What do you hear? How many different bird calls? Do you hear water running? Do you hear the wind? Do you hear leaves rustle. Was it in a tree or on the ground?

We've had a lot of cold and wind here over the last few weeks. My yard is a sheet of ice. (An interesting experience for my dogs. A good way to learn not to let your dogs pull on the leash.) When the wind blows, the trees creak- in my yard and when we walk. Sometimes they just bend and I don't hear them. But sometimes I watch them bend and hear them groan.

About 15 years ago we had a terrible ice storm here. My husband got up to move all the kids downstairs. As it turns out a branch did poke through one bedroom ceiling. The electricity was out for almost a week. But the most amazing thing for him was sitting on the porch that first night in deafening quiet listening to the trees groan and creak, crack and fall. He woke me up and I listened, too - not just trees in our yard but trees a block or two away - trees across the street and over the hill. In the morning he took the older kids on a short walk through a literal fairy ice palace - not the safest thing to do given the icicles that fell were like daggers we realized later - but it was memorable. The whole city was closed down. Everything was quiet but the ice.

How do we teach children to hear? How do we teach children to listen to the sounds around them, to the people around them? How do we teach them to remember what they hear and how to sift through the more significant and less significant? How do we teach them to hear an invisible God?

Seeing - in and out of the classroom

The word Light is used pretty often in scripture, especially the NT. When my husband and I were in Virginia the blinds caught the light in lots of different ways over the course of the day. Maybe it caught my attention because the walls and everything in the apartment were white . . . but I was intrigued. I felt like I'd never really seen light before. Photographers learn to see light. They have to see it and use it to capture the images they want but I felt like I'd never really noticed light before. So I took pictures. Now they're lost but it was an out-of-the-classroom educational experience that I probably won't forget.

Years ago, an older friend of ours went with our group on a hayride in the country. She had always lived with city street lights. The absence of light was what so impressed (and scared) her. I grew up on a farm. My husband grew up in Manhattan. City light and country light is something you don't always think about until you see it through someone else's eyes.

There are I Spy books and Hidden Picture books . . . and Psyche, of course. Psyche, Monk and House (USA TV) all focus on solving problems through astute observation- seeing.

I used to have a box of simple preschool activities for each of the senses and small motor development. How do we teach children to see? How do we learn to "see" an invisible God? Should learning to see be an integral part of Christian education or spiritual formation?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Emerging Parents, Vision, CHMT last chapter

First thought) Emerging Parents Home page is here. I think the other link just takes you to the Children's Ministry discussion. Lots of interesting discussion and resources. And, do you know what else? If you're working in the area of Children's Ministry but you're from another generation or you're not a parent yet, you'll be hearing some of the voices of a new generation. Whatever generation you're serving, listening is important.

Second Thought) Vision is a funny thing: Some people can see the present through the eyes of the past and understand how events and choices have shaped today. They might say, "Don't go this way." People who see through microscopes see things that most people will never see and don't care. They know about invisible pathogens. Some people are really good at seeing where we are on the map today (the good and the bad). Some people see where we're going. Some people see all the wild things along the path, even if they're camoflaged. Some people know where each of the different trails will lead, which path to take and the most efficient or fastest way to get there. Different seers needed in different situations.

Take some time each month to check out Emerging Parents and put on their glasses for a few minutes. Take time to listen to the parents you work with.

Thought 3) As I'm reading the last chapter of Children Matter , if you are professional or a volunteer and you're at all frustrated working with church leadership, parents or volunteers, I think you'll find lots of wisdom in this chapter about strong leadership, service, and doing one without losing the other.

Somehow, these three thoughts are connected . . . I think . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CM: in Leadership (a couple of quotes)

As expected, Children Matter "in Leadership" is full of wisdom. There's much to learn from stories about choices made in the midst of trying situations. If you need to be encouraged and want to feel like someone understands, this is the chapter to read. And, as always, they ask such great questions!!

Two quotes for you - tiny straws in a haystack (as opposed to capturing the heart of the chapter.)

"...children's ministry has the potential to affect the climate of an entire congregation." [CM p. 331]

" the absence of genuine feedback, many volunteers typically assume that they are doing an inadequate job." [CM p. 332]

Useful lists, goals, and questions. Insightful!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Found this on a blog I read this morning (My Emerging Faith @ blogspot) :

“Never make a principle out of your experience. Allow God to be as original with other people as He is with you.” - Oswald Chambers

Don't you love it? Pretty radical [smile]. I just might make it a banner on my desktop!

You could argue that creating principles is Biblical (Pharisaical?) or you could argue that if we don't create principles from everything it gives God more room to move. for thought...

...I wonder what the scriptures say...

Monday, February 04, 2008

CM: Leadership (slightly revised)

Children matter in leadership - the last chapter of Children Matter.

The chapter opens, "Many persons who love children and sense a strong call to minister with them are dismayed to discover that extensive administration is required of the children's pastor. Those who learn to creatively guide ministry planning and empower a team of volunteers, however, experience great joy as they watch increasingly effective ministry with children unfold." [CM p. 330] This is a chapter looking at a seasoned children's pastor, principles, and strategies.

It's that word "administration." I think leadership driven by passion for God and compassion for children(and the people around them) and a heart to see and serve and listen and hear is a most difficult job. It's the business edge that I have a hard time with. I understand the need for great communication and for things to run safely and smoothly for large groups of people. But I think, at this point in time, I have no heart for the business of church or group politics. A friend of mine once said, if you don't like group politics, you must not like groups. And I thought (in my late 40's). Oh, that's why I don't like groups. People who lead children's ministries (or any ministry) and do it well deserve all the kudos and respect in the world. Kudos!! I've raised kids, babysat, I've taught different things to different ages, volunteered in every area of kids and church including VBS and summer camp. (Ok, I got paid at summer camp.) I helped a young church start the process of implementing some very different ideas for children's ministry but I think I'm a facilitator, not a leader.

I'm going to read this last chapter of the book anyway. 22 pages. Join me if you want. We'll sit at the feet of a professional. Maybe I'll find something else to think about on paper.

When you're done reading books, if you want to learn, find a seasoned expert that you respect, whether they have a degree or not. Find someone nearby. Sit at his/her feet. Follow him around. Pester him/her with questions. He/she may never write a book and they definitely won't live forever. It doesn't have to be Children's Ministry. Whatever you're willing to learn by following, interacting, (obeying) and imitating. Apprenticeship, discipleship (for lack of better describers) is a different kind of learning - sadly lacking in our culture but as a form of education it's tried and true. It's passed the test of time. It's more than a how to, there's an impartation that happens. But that's a separate post. . .

Check out the Bibliography and the index of scriptures in Children Matter, too.


I hope this book stays in print for a very very long time!!