As parents, we are accustomed to attending parent-teacher conferences and receiving feedback about our children’s performances in school. We converse about each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and possible next steps for growth in these time-measured appointments. Fortunately, we have never had to hear disappointing news. Today, after reading the Dec. 17, 2019 article, “More Than Just Playing Piano,” I am reminded of the reason why this is so.
On different occasions when I’ve engaged in less formal conversations with colleagues at our children’s elementary school, I’ve heard the following comments: (Mind you, there have been a few less glowing ones.)
“She speaks with confidence at such a young age.”
“Your daughter focuses on a task for long periods of time while some need constant redirection.”
“It’s nice to not have to remind her to get her homework/project done.”
“She’s a leader both on the field and in the classroom.”
“I can count on her to help me and the other students.”
However, one remark in particular — “How is it that ALL of your girls have done so well in school?” — prompted me to give a very specific response.
I don’t recall now the exact words I used, but I remember sharing how at a very young age our children were weekly visitors at the library and church. It is here they learned to sit or stand, listen and behave in respectful ways. In church, they were able to receive and extend support as they learned from mentors and took positions of responsibility, such as collection taker or counter, church cleaner, VBS helper, Sunday school secretary or superintendent, MBA president, song leader, pianist, Youth in Action volunteer, or other branch and area positions.
Throughout their years, they were entrusted with growing responsibilities and a network that supported them in the process.
As the brothers and sisters modeled high expectations in their actions while serving God, the members, and friends, our children were learning valuable insights that served them well throughout school and now in their lives and vocations.
God was equipping them with the skills that employers seek, such as strong speaking, listening, and writing skills. They were gaining the ability to collaborate with and lead different-sized groups of people. Greater exposure, practice, and confidence led them to take more risks and taught them resiliency.
I believe God gives all of our children, through these valuable church experiences, talents and skills which are even more important that the world needs. Our youth are able to show compassion and understanding and share the peace, love, and joy of Jesus in their hearts with everyone they come in contact with at school, work, and in their communities.
When the next business meeting arrives, or in the meantime, if there’s something a young child can do to help at church, consider encouraging, teaching, and supporting them as they take on an important task that will help them grow into responsible, caring adults — and being more like Jesus.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.