The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church is “…the instrument for setting forth the laws, plan, polity, and process by which United Methodists govern themselves…” Discipline is “to train by instruction and exercise”, and we owe it to our children to offer them a little instruction book of their own. We are their instruction book!
Children may come to us with an innate sense of who God is, but we are blessed (or tasked) with the responsibility of being living, breathing examples of how they develop spiritually, emotionally, cognitively, and ethically. Children are surrounded by influencers that will form them, so if we want to live into our responsibility, then we must be present with them…truly present.
We can help our children develop a set of behaviors the will help them live into the amazing people God created them to be. A few tips:
- Model Holy Living
- Set expectations
- Set healthy boundaries
- When talking with children, use body language > get on their level, smile, nod, engage
- Listen attentively to children > ask them the who-what-when-where, and then LISTEN for understanding
- Offer empathy
- Help children reframe a negative situation
- Respond to the needs of children