Practical Ways To Redirect A Child’s “Super Powers”

Before you dive into this post, you should first read Helping Kids Use Their Super Powers For Good, the post this post is a follow-up to.

“Any practical suggestions for redirecting some of the “bad” powers toward Christ-centered purposes?  For example, my wife had a child who liked being the center of attention in music time, so she had him hold the poster-board with the lyrics.  He got to be up front (which he loved) and learned to serve the other kids at the same time! What do you do with the very active child to redirect his energy while in a group setting?” question submitted by reader Austin.

Austin already has the right idea… or at least his wife does. 😉

I don’t know if there is going to be a hard-set way to redirect every child’s ‘powers’. Every child is so unique and every situation requires a different approach. We can look at things from one step back though and give some suggestions to help folks come up with their own ways to harness and redirect our kid’s energies.

1. Learn That Kid

What makes them who they are? What kind of family-life do they have? How do they act at school? At home? Typically I’ve found that every challenging child has at least one environment that they thrive in. I find that area… study it to see why it’s working, and try to weave that into my program… or at least their part of the program. Is it the leader? The group dynamic? The discipline structure? Something is pulling the best from that child and I’m going to find out what it is and harness it for myself.

2. Imagine Their Potential

God has a plan for every person. A plan to prosper them and not to harm them. Every good and perfect Gift comes from God. God also works everything out for the good of those who love him. Knowing these things means that I must believe God has a plan for my kid. He has a set of gifts and talents that God wants to use. It’s my job to have a vision for each child that is shaped by what I know about how God feels toward his children. Every negative must be seen as a positive. I know that seems to make no sense… but God has a plan right? It may require a lot of prayer… but you must have a clear viision of what God possibly has in store for that child. We’re not talking about knowing exactly to the day what God will have them doing… but more of a view of the kind of person God created them to be.

Once you have that vision, you can then…

3. Provide An Atmosphere That Draws Them To Their Potential

Our goal is not to make them be good… it’s to help them become like Christ. We’re not, no not never going to change a child with time-outs and conferences with parents. God will change a child’s heart when we provide situations where his intentions for their ‘powers’ are presented. When a child is allowed to be the Godly version of themselves, and they are accepted and loved… it will create an appetite for using their energies for more good. It’s a simple concept really. Most things concerning God really are simple… but simple doesn’t mean it’s not difficult.

Practical Ideas On Redirecting Super Powers:

  • Active Kid – Add lots of music with full body motions to your time. Allow this child to lead on stage. Break your time into clear segments. Perhaps even moving around the room for different activities. Repeat expectations weekly and be consistent in enforcing them.
  • Talkative Kid – Include talk times in your program. Give this child a chance to tell others about their day. Maybe you start the class by asking kids to rate their week on a scale of 1-10 and then explain why. If you’re telling a bible story, involve this child as a narrator, or an actor to repeat lines you feed them in real-time. Be clear that there are times to be loud, and times to be quiet. Talk times are for talking, quiet times are for listening. Let the class know when it’s one or the other. This way the talkative child knows when they can let the words fly.
  • Quiet Kid – No one thinks about the quiet kids… but often times they’re disobeying as much as the loud kid… but they’re quiet so we don’t mind if they don’t participate. It’s okay to be an introvert, we’re not going to try to change their personality… but we are going to require a minimum amount of participation. You don’t have to sing, but you do need to stand. You don’t have to pray, but we do need a prayer request. Whatever it is make your expectations high… but your requirements low. That way this child feels more comfortable doing the requirement because they aren’t required to do the expected. Make sense? There are ways this child can contribute that they will be comfortable with. Maybe they draw, write, play, or like to share. Maybe talk to Mom and have their pet visit the class. This will make them the star of the show… but all the scary attention will be on the dog. So it’s all good.
  • Rambunctious Kid – You know that boy who always ends up fighting because he plays so rough? Yeah, that kid. God gave him toughness and boldness. Help him by giving him some responsibility over some younger kids. You’ll be giving him the chance to feel big… but in a giant teddy bear sort of way. He’ll soon learn that God gave him his powers to protect others rather than damage them.
  • Joker Kid – The kid who isn’t bad… they just like to make everything funny. This kid needs attention. He does. He’s a performer. Help him, like Austin’s wife did, by providing positive experiences where he can have his 15 min’s of fame, but it’s not all about him. Doing service projects is a great way. Having a reward system in place that offers badges or other rewards that are given in a public setting in front of peers and parents. Some leaders might struggle with the urge to keep this child needy rather than fulfilling because it seems self-centered. If the church doesn’t fill it positively and absolutely, the world will be more than happy to do it for us.

Do you feel unable to handle your own kids? Feeling under talented and over worked. Remember, God has given you your own set of Super Powers… ask him to reveal any secret powers and to enhance the ones you know about. And remember, he called YOU to these kids. Not because they’re easy… or because you’re perfect for the job… but because he needed your particular set of skills and your faithfulness and willingness to get the job done through you.

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