When a Child Hurts


Think about the children you teach each week. In your CA, GA, or RA group, is there a child who is withdrawn? How about one who blurts answers out of turn or constantly seeks your attention? What about a child who seems angry most of the time?

Instead being frustrated with the child’s actions, consider that something might have happened in that child’s life to cause him or her to act that way.

Children, like adults, cannot check their emotional baggage at the door. Unfortunately, they bring those experiences with them when they come to missions classrooms. And, those experiences sometimes cause children to act in ways that may take away from learning activities that are happening with other children.

Every week, you have the opportunity to reach out to the children in your care and remind them that regardless of what has happened outside of the walls of your missions classroom, they are valuable to not only you as their leader, but they are also valuable to God. Their lives have great purpose!

When you see a child who may not fit in with others, who is struggling to participate, or who may have problems with authority, our first thought should be about ways to encourage that child to participate, grow, and learn.

As you encourage that child to engage appropriately in missions, remain positive. Should you see patterns of concerning behavior, talk to your pastor or children’s minister about what you have observed.

While some of the things children experience are part of growing up, some of their experiences are traumatic. When those traumatic events happen, children need to be surrounded by caring adults who can find help for a child so she can begin to heal.

Project HELP: PTSD

Every two years, WMU prayerfully chooses a Project HELP emphasis. We are currently focusing on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD. WMU encourages members at all age levels to minister in some way to those suffering with PTSD.

While we do not address PTSD in our curriculum for you as leaders to discuss with children, we do encourage leaders to help children understand that they can help people who are hurting by being the hands and feet of Jesus. They can encourage someone who is down, be a friend to someone who has experienced something terrible, and love on someone who may not feel very loveable.

Children can understand that when bad things happen, a Christian’s responsibility is to be there to help in a time of need.

Please remember that only a professional can diagnose someone with PTSD, but, as Christians, we can all reach out to those in stressful situations and in need to help them remember that God loves them.

For more information on WMU’s Project HELP emphasis, visit wmu.com/projecthelp.

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