Be in Relationship

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In a recent post on the YALT (Young Adult Leadership Exchange) site, author Andy Bossardet offered a three word solution for how to reach millennials: be in relationship.

The same day I read Bossardet’s blog, I came across the following set of instructions in the Story Hour manual—written for the leaders of 4-5 year old children—and it occurred to me that when it comes to being in relationship with millennials (and all others!) these six simple rules apply:

Loving the Story Hour Child

The most basic foundation for building a relationship with your Story Hour children in your love for each one as a special child of God. Your own personality and experience with children will shine through but we want to suggest a few simple ways to communicate your love.

  • Address each child by name. This says, “You are important to me. I know who you are.”
  • When children are absent, let them know they are missed. Send a postcard to let them know they have a special place in your Story Hour group.
  • Show affection with appropriate touch and hugs. Let each child set the pace. Those who need loving affection most may not know how to accept it comfortably.
  • Praise each child generously. Look for opportunities to compliment, thank, and encourage each child. Make sure you praise is genuine and not simply an attempt to make them feel good.
  • Communicate at their eye level. Make every effort to get down to the child’s level by sitting or kneeling. In conversation, be careful to respect their thoughts and feelings.
  • Celebrate birthdays. Plan a special day for each child or a monthly celebration and a time to celebrate summer birthdays or send a birthday card to each child’s home.

The most basic foundation for building a relationship with teens and young adults is your love for each one as a special child of God.

  • Know their names.
  • When they are absent, let them know they are missed.
  • Show loving affection.
  • Look for opportunities to genuinely compliment, thank and encourage.
  • Respect their thoughts and feelings.
  • Celebrate milestones together.

Be in relationship. 

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