Written by Dave Carl, Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church
When I was around five years old, I remember running around the house wearing my very own terrycloth cape. Two corners of the towel were attached around my neck with a big diaper pin. I made punching motions, jumped off the arm of the couch and imagined flying around looking for bad guys to defeat and people to rescue. Throughout time, kids have pretended they had enormous power so they could do amazing things. I believe this is the way we were created.
This instinct, however, has often been perverted into “I want to have enormous power so I can get what I want at everyone else’s expense.” These powerful people are to be profoundly mistrusted and feared. In the context of a super hero story, this is the very definition of the “Bad Guy” or “Bad Girl.” So many of them have used their power to harm others and serve only themselves, so our culture has come to fear powerful people. Though understandable, that is a tragic over-correction. We need fewer reckless, narcissistic, and immature people, and we need more who are powerful and use their power for the good of the community around them, ultimately working to be a good representative for God, who is powerful and good.
If we make the mistake of training our children not to use or even want power, we are going far beyond the manufacturer’s specifications. There are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole boys are created for adventure. If we tell them they are not, they will sneak off and start fires with a magnifying glass, they will make a light saber out of a yard stick, and watch Marvel movie marathons. They will bottle it all up until they recklessly burst and do something dumb and pointless, then the cycle begins again. Teenage boys are famous for doing reckless things, therefore I suggest we not shame them or force them to bottle all this energy up – let’s channel it so it develops the way it was designed. I propose that we teach kids:
- Bad guys need to be fought
- Victims need to be rescued
- Innocents need to be protected
- Good guys need to be ready to fight well
When Jesus was ready to begin His ministry, He launched it publicly by reading in the synagogue from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. This section is a prophecy, a description of the coming Messiah – the one sent by God. This scene is recorded in Luke 4:18-19.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18-19
This is the job description of the prophesied Messiah, and Jesus basically said, “It’s Me.” Jesus came to comfort, free captives, give direction to the lost, and care for those who are powerless. This is also our calling as Christians. We are to be always more like Christ. We are all made to Rescue and Protect, so I suggest we train for that goal. This should be a multi-year conversation with you about how we best work together to train up our kids in the way they should go. But let’s start with a few suggestions on things we can do to encourage our kids into a life that is marked by the desire to Rescue and Protect.
- Let’s help our kids to feel like they have power to alter things in this world for the better.
- Let’s give our kids opportunities to take action in helping others.
- Let’s make sure our kids see life in terms of helping others to love God instead of success and self-gratification.
Stonebriar Community Church and our Family Ministries are committed to creatively and relationally training up kids to love God and love others. If you are up for this too, let us know cuz it’ll work so much better if we work toward this together. Are you ready for some adventure?
You can read more about the philosophy of Rescue and Protect on our previous blog post: This Change in Direction is Important.
Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.
Dave and his wife of 30 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school and recently became grandparents for the first time. They are completely in love with this new member of their family. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures, and he would love to connect with you!