“Kids these days.” If you haven’t said it yourself, then you’ve probably overheard someone say it in your presence. It’s usually said in a cranky tone and followed by the phrase “when I was a kid.” Sure, the world has changed a lot in the past several decades, but the reality is that kids these days have a whole lot going for them too. They have resources, a clean slate, and the opportunity for global connectedness.

But the truth is that kids these days need adults like you to be part of their growing-up process. This is true of the kids in your neighborhood, your church, and your home. In fact, helping build reciprocal relationships between kids and adults is an integral piece of a small group culture.

Here are five reasons kids these days need you:

  1. Kids need all the encouragement we can give. Close your eyes for a moment and try to remember what it felt like to be in 4th grade. Maybe your knees were scraped from a nasty fall while rounding the bases during a kickball game. Maybe you were feeling the discomfort of realizing you’re the only girl in your class still playing with dolls. Elementary kids are at a key time in life when they need a squad to surround them and say things like, “You can do it!” “You have what it takes!” and “Keep trying!”
  2. Kids are so funny. Kids love making people laugh. Their jokes don’t always make sense, and adults are a safe place to try out new, ridiculous material. I don’t know how kids come up with the stuff they say. But they do . . . all the time. If you’re a small group leader or have young kids, you’ve probably noticed the big smiles, crinkly noses, and giggle-inducing humor kids bring to everyday life.
  3. Kids are unboundedly curious. Did you know the average 9-year-old boy asks approximately 150 questions a day? That’s 1 question every 10 minutes. Factor in the amount of time they’re sleeping or alone on any given day, and it’s more like 1 question every 5 minutes. There’s so much out there to learn and know, and kids need adults to help fill in the blanks and provide necessary information.
  4. Kids have the potential to grow as much spiritually as they do physically. Childhood provides a foundation for faith that will continue through adulthood. The earlier kids internalize Scripture and begin to practice a faith of their own, the more likely it will be they’ll continue to follow Jesus when they are older. Kids need adults who will give them the opportunity to share Scripture, tell their own stories, and practice praying for one another.
  5. Kids think you are amazing. As a 30-something adult who is rapidly discovering more and more grey hairs on my head and has lost track of who is the cutest boy band, there are days when I feel in desperate need for someone to think I’m cool. Kids think their small group leaders are heroes! Rock stars! The bee’s knees! All of us need mentors and friends who are a step-ahead, who we can look up to, who will pray for us, and will make us feel like a million bucks just by reaching out and saying hello.

Are you ready to step into the world of kids these days?

 

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Steph is the Lead Writer for the XP3 Middle School curriculum at Orange. She has a decade of experience leading students and volunteers, including the privilege of leading a group of girls from 5th grade to HS graduation. She recently moved to Atlanta, and is embarking on another 4 years of Leading Small in a high school setting. Steph is married to Tim, and spends her days writing, planning adventures, and drinking coffee. She is the author of the book The Volunteer Project: Stop Recruiting. Start Retaining. You can read more of her thoughts at stephwhitacre.com.

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