Children. Teens. Love them. All of them!

Family and friends who have known me my entire life were not surprised when I quit my job as a university professor and began a ministry with the name “Celebrate Kids.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved and celebrated kids. Their talents delight me and remind me God is good to create us as He does. If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably know I’m passionate to help kids believe in themselves and their abilities and talents.

The earlier our children discover something worth pursuing, the better. Check out these three beautiful examples. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to have conversations with your children and to look more carefully to find interests you can help them develop into talents.

EPSON MFP imageRachel, an eighth grader, has been blogging for a while. About her writing, she says, “I want to use my writing to glorify God.” In fact, her primary motivation early on was to write something her cousins might read and be willing to discuss with her. She has hoped this would allow them to discuss spiritual matters more often.

In her mom’s words:

A few years ago, I began to notice the deep, spiritual insight Rachel has about various topics. Then about a year ago, she told me she’d started a journal – writing in the voice of a young Jewish girl during the Holocaust. Before long, she started several other journals, including one where she jotted down her spiritual thoughts. When she asked if we could send some of her pieces to interested friends and relatives, it only made sense that we start a blog. So now she writes regularly for “One Girl’s Words with Meaning,” and she was recently asked to write a regular column in our church’s women’s newsletter. It’s clear from what she says in her writing as well as how she relates to the writing process itself that God has given her a gift, and I’m so thankful that we’re able to help her nurture it right now.

If only more children had parents this alert, approachable, and helpful. And, if only more parents had children willing to think through their thoughts, own them, and want to influence others through them. What can you do to inspire your children?

Here’s are two of my favorite posts. I trust you’ll be inspired. Remember, she’s just an eighth grader! You may want to check out Rachel’s other posts at One Girl’s Words with Meaning,

Faith in a God Unseen

Moses listened to God and instructed Israel in his laws, but he never saw him. Gideon led an army because God said so, but he never saw him. Jeremiah taught God’s law to the people, but he never saw him. Paul taught many people to believe in Christ in many different lands, but he never saw him. All these men had faith in a God they had never seen. You can have the same kind of faith. Believe that God has a supreme hand in everything, believe that you’re never alone. If you just have faith in a God unseen.

Bright Circle

A long time ago when darkness fell, families would gather in the living room. Father would clean his gun, Mother would sew, Older Brother would work on a puzzle, Older Sister would knit, and the little once would tumble around with the dog. Sitting in the living room with family is a precious thing – a time to hear stories, or listen to the radio. But enjoying the family nowadays is not as important to many as it was before. Everyone rushes off to do their own things. Let us not lose this wonderful feeling of family togetherness. Let us come into this bright circle of love and laughter together.

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My second inspiration today is Audrey, a seventh grader, who enjoys theater and works hard at it. I love her reasons:

Audrey_Cropped_SoloI chose to go into Spotlight Youth Theater because the art of theater is one of my most favorite things. Just being able to be on a stage, sing, and act is wonderful to me. There are several things I love about theater, one you get to meet new people. I’ve met a ton of friends and through all the rehearsals we learn more about each other. Two, you’re on a stage and you are being somebody you’re not. It’s fun to act like someone else and create someone’s personality’s voice and how they should say something. Three, I know we have our beliefs in common and we get to act and sing because God gave us that talent.

And, from her mom:

As for me as a mom, I love the community theater because it has taught Audrey to try her best (auditions) and how to take disappointment gracefully when she isn’t cast into the part she was hoping for. The other aspect I love about this group she is in, Spotlight Youth Theater, is that they have a Bible verse for each show that they memorize, they do devotions together, pray together, do a worship service every Sat morning before practice (that’s optional), and at the end of every show they take a bow and then point up to God signaling that all the glory goes to Him.  They are taught through this group that their gifting and talents come from Christ and so they return the praises back to Him.  It’s highly emotional to watch all these kids between 1st-12th grade purposefully and knowingly acknowledge that this show is not about them.

Might Audrey be the one to inspire you and your children?

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My final illustration today is Dylan. an eighth grader who has taken piano lessons from my sister-in-law for just two years. This is him playing a part of a song he composed by himself just because he wanted to. I love that he wanted to share it with all of us at the recital. He’s talented! Maybe he’s going to be the one to encourage you and your children to discover talents and gifts. That would be great!

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Do your children think they can do nothing? Do they wonder if they could develop a talent? I pray these examples might be used by God to encourage them.