Written by Scott and Leslie
What does it mean to hang out with a kid?
The number one thing it communicates to a child is, “I have value.”
“This grown up could be doing anything and he just wants to hang out with me.”
What does Jesus think?
He says, bring the children to me and do not hinder them. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Unless you become like a child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
What was Jesus trying to say? To me, I hear him saying, “These kids have value, these are my precious children.”
Have you ever noticed how hungry kids are for attention? And if you give them just a little bit they want more and more and more? Well, it’s for a good reason. It’s because kids need attention! That’s how they learn and grow and become adults – by talking to and interacting with adults who care about them. That shapes their development more than anything else and it’s how God designed things to be – it’s why He created the family structure. But for many of these kids the family structure has broken down leaving them missing out on this essential ingredient in their childhood.
When a child has not had a stable caregiver in his life, modeling God’s love to him, it’s hard for him to understand the concept of God’s love and what it means to have a relationship with Him. He has no reference point. God created children to grow up in families for a specific purpose.
Floyd McClung says, “I believe that God designed us to begin our lives as babies, totally dependent and vulnerable, because He intended the family to be the setting in which His love was modeled.”
But what happens when that plan goes awry? And in this fallen world, sadly, it often does, leaving children without a foundation for understanding who God is. When we help meet a child’s developmental needs, then he will be receptive to the transforming power of the gospel – it goes hand in hand.
Did you know that 95% of what children learn is through modeling adult behavior? And that applies spiritually as well. So hanging out with a kid and modeling God’s love to that child through relationship, might very well lay the foundation for a deep relationship with Jesus to develop.
These kids are the future. But they’re also important for who they are right now. And what happens in their life right now will determine who they become in the future. Hang out with them. Get to know them. Invest in them. Gain their trust. Let them know that you are someone they can depend on. In a life where maybe they’ve never had someone they could depend on. To a child hanging out communicates more than words. I don’t know what could be more impactful.
And I can’t think of a better use of time.
So that’s what I’ll be spending my afternoons doing – Just Hangin’ Out!