So, I'm doing a Bible study with some ladies from my church. Actually, we're reading a book together (based on Titus 2). I try to look up the verses, as well. But, you know. Anyways, after each week I walk away thinking that I'm not done with the conversation. But our last discussion has been with me, especially since I didn't feel like we had gotten through all the practicals.
You see, the title of the chapter was "Loving Your Children" and out of the fifteen or more women who were there, only five of us were moms. So where does that leave everyone else? Looking forward to some nebulous future where they might have children? Some aren't even married, yet. How could they implement this in their lives today? We started talking about it, but by no means did we create a comprehensive list. So, since I've been thinking about it, I've decided to write all my thoughts down. Maybe then I can move on to the next chapter :) Without further ado, my thoughts on loving other people's children. I have other thoughts on helping out a new mom, that I'll post later. And please! Add your thoughts in the comments!
Teach Sunday school. This is a great way to get to know children. You can have a positive influence in their lives by doing this simple job. And it's also a great service to the parents, who tend to take the bulk of the teaching responsibilities.
Have real conversations. Don't just brush kids aside. Look them in the eye, get down on their level, and have a chat. This is hard if you're not comfortable around children, but it gets easier! Kids are just like everyone else- they love to talk about the things that interest them. Ask them what toys they played with today or about what they're learning in school. Have a couple of go-to questions to help you get started until it comes more naturally.
Play with them. Once you start getting to know the kids, they'll seek you out and might start viewing them as their friends. And what do kids do? They play! Little ones (under 5) will play peek a book or chase. Middle ones (elementary ages) like tag and wrestling. Older ones (teens) still like these things too, but they'd rather be "cool" with you.
Watch out for them. Don't let them get away with stuff. If you see a child doing something wrong- call them on it. Bring it to the attention of their parents.
Invite them over. Some things are more interesting when you have children underfoot. Invite some kids over to bake and decorate cookies, or for a fun craft project, or popcorn and a movie. I'm sure the parents will love it, too :)
Babysit. In the same vein, offer to take the kids so mom can have a free afternoon, or the couple can enjoy a date night.
Enjoy them. I found it extremely interesting that the "love" in Titus 2 referring to children is the "phileo" love of befriending them. What an eye opener! So, please, enjoy children. Whether they're yours or not.