October is here.
This new month brings crunchier leaves, cooler weather (and by cooler, I mean we go from 100-degree weather to 90-degree weather), and pumpkins suddenly appear outside of every grocery store. And let us not forget that Pumpkin Spice Lattes once again grace our local Starbucks’. Praise the Lord!
As spooky decorations are hung outside of homes and every theme park across America has some sort of “horror night”, October may also remind us of some of the fears that we try our hardest to avoid the other 11 months out of the year.For me, I’m reminded of my crippling fear of reaching into a bag of Halloween candy only to pull out raisins. Just kidding… sort of. We all have some sort of fear – big or small – so as a Kid’s Ministry, we feel it’s a perfect time of the year to talk about facing our fears.
I recently sat on the floor with a group of first-graders and asked them what they were afraid of. I received blank stares from everyone except for one girl who whispered, “spiders,” under her breath before realizing that no one else was going to share. It wasn’t until I said, “I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of,” that their interest was piqued. “I’m afraid of the dark,” I told them. Immediately, 8 out of 10 little hands shot up in the air, ready to share what they were afraid of as well.I can’t help but feel that something about an adult being honest with them gave them the courage to share what their fears were. Kids are craving authenticity from their leaders, their teachers, and get this… their parents too!
As leaders and parents, it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to get your kids to open up, especially when it comes to a subject like fear. What if rather than pretending we have it all together, we shared what we’re scared of with our kids in hopes that they might share as well?Some of the “big ideas” that we’re focusing on in Kid’s Ministry this month are that Jesus is bigger than all of our fears and prayer is our ultimate tool to combat whatever we might be afraid of. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized the profound power of prayer and the ability it has to minimize our fears and replace them with courage. As a parent, you have the opportunity to remind your children of this daily by modeling it.
So maybe it’s your first grader conquering their fear of walking on the sidewalk next to the house with the creepy Halloween decorations. Or maybe it’s your fifth grader reaching out for help when they’re being bullied at school. Perhaps when you read this, your own fears come to mind. The truth is, fear manifests itself in all kinds of different ways, but when we dwell on our fears, we are unable to reach our full potential as Christ-followers – whether we’re five or 55.
Rest in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Whether you’re a parent, teacher or small group leader, look for opportunities to openly discuss your fears with the little ones you interact with and go before the Lord together in prayer this October and beyond.
By Natalie Moore