Have you ever tried to teach a family member how to do something new? There is a strong temptation when we see someone doing something ‘wrong’ to step in and quickly take over. Sometimes the best thing we can do is give someone instructions and then step away and let them try on their own. There is a Shona proverb that goes:
Gudo guru peta muswe kuti vadiki vagokutya, which translates to,
“Pull in your tail, old baboon, so the children can play.”
If the old baboon is too close, the younger generation will accidentally step on his tail and the older baboon will have to react in order to keep the respect of the group. If we want to raise up the next generation well, sometimes we need to take a step back and allow those who are younger to lead. One of the greatest ways to help kids feel valuable is not by telling them they are valuable, but by entrusting them to do something of value.
As Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered over the past several decades, there have been fewer and fewer mentors and leaders investing in the next generation. Through a weekly in-home activity, Eudo wants to equip parents with conversations that empower families. Every kid needs someone who believes they are capable of great things! In some ways, believing kids are
capable of ‘great things one day’ is a lot easier then trusting them with important little things right now! This week, let’s see if we can put our trust into action and rely on someone else. For families with kids, check out the ideas below:
For Families with Younger Kids
Allow the kids in your family to make a meal this week. Make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with them making in your absence, because you’ll want to stay out of kitchen and let them have at it! (Make sure they know they have to clean up whatever they use).
For Families with Teens
When I was a young teen my youth minister allowed us to host our own dinner parties. We would plan the meals, cook, serve, and clean for the group. Consider allowing a teen in your family to have their own ‘fellowship meal’ with their friends at your house. One day they may be hosting small groups or Bible study and getting a start in hospitality early is great training. After you’ve set a budget and a few ground rules, stay back! It will be hard not to intervene, but keep your ‘tail’ out of their way so they can learn on their own!
Devotional Thought to go along with activity:
Not long after a toddler starts learning to talk, God wired them to say, “I can do it myself!” God knew they have too much to learn to sit on the sidelines and wait. The result can be a painfully slow half hour where a toddler tries to spread peanut butter on their own crackers, but such lessons are more effective than watching Alton Brown prepare perfect ribs. I’m sure when Jesus sent out his disciples in Matthew 10 (or the parallel account in Luke 10) they felt they were not quite ready. When Peter knocked on that first door, I bet the message wasn’t as smooth and composed as it would be later on the day of Pentecost. Jesus did not wait until his followers were just as good as he was until he trusted them with a serious mission.
All too often we assume that with a little more study, a little more preparation, then we will leap into action full of confidence. Sometimes what we need to do is jump in with both feet and realize that certain lessons can only be learned when we are putting our faith into action. Paul ends a prayer in Ephesians 3 with this powerful line:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)
Don’t miss that last phrase. The incredible things God is going to do that are beyond our imagination he is going to do through us! Some of the greatest impact Eudo has had in Zimbabwe has been by empowering young adult volunteers like Tafara and Trevor (pictured right) to develop their own testimony and present it at revivals. Let’s pray this week that we invest in the next generation like Jesus did and trust them to do some amazing things in his name.