Children get enough discouragement from adults telling them constantly what they are doing is wrong or needs to be better. They need to hear more often how they are loved, forgiven and believed in. They need to be encouraged and reminded that while their behavior may not always be good, their value and worth is good beyond description! They are good kids in God’s eyes because He made them and whatever God made IS good! After all, every day of creation God finished by saying, “It is good.”
As we shepherd the children in our ministries it is critical that we focus on their hearts more than their behavior. When we see bad behavior, our impulse needs to be not to correct the behavior, but to mold the heart that determined the behavior. There are plenty of techniques out there that can shape children’s behavior, but if we only succeed in changing behavior, we will have only created little Pharisees who know how to behave at church. But it will be unlikely that we will impact much how they behave at home and even less how they behave at school and after they outgrow children’s ministry. But if we reach their hearts we will have truly succeeded in making disciples!
Don’t focus on changing kids behavior… focus on changing kids hearts… and their behavior will mysterious change. It the same approach Jesus is using on you, by the way.