In sales, they say something is worth whatever a buyer is willing and able to pay and the seller is willing and able to accept. How does this relate to our work with children and families?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
Our value is NOT based on what we have or even what we do.
It is determined by God’s offer—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—and our willingness to accept it.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34 (ESV)
The first day of Sparks Out of School, I invited the teens to ask me any 10 questions. Immediately, a hand shot up. “What type of shoes do you wear?” I responded, “Seriously? That is the most important thing you all want to know?” The response from the group was a resounding, “Yes!” So I shared what brand of shoes I wear. We never got to the other nine questions; a conversation had begun regarding the value of things we own and their impact on our lives.
You can tell a child that she is wonderful, loved, and valuable, but what if she’s thinking,
“You don’t know the truth… you don’t know who I really am… you don’t know what I’ve done…”
The best way to help someone realize their true value is to give them opportunities to do things of value! In Sparks, youth have many opportunities to serve one another. Volunteers see the value they bring when they are entrusted with key responsibilities. Parents discover that quality youth programming hinges on their engagement. Everyone plays a valuable role in this community!
At the end of Sparks each day, parents are asked to tie a “warm fuzzy” to their teen’s lanyard. So much more than a 6-inch piece of yarn, this symbolizes a bond between parent and child. As they tie, parents are coached to ask their child about their day. The first week, most youth rolled their eyes, offered a monotone “fine”, and escaped the exchange.
Now, parents ask more open-ended questions, and the family begins their evening together with healthy communication. My favorite conversations are when parents ask, “What was the best part of your day?” and the response comes with a great smile, “Coming to Sparks!”