"My friends gossip about each other. Should I try to
stop them or just keep quiet?"
Teach your kids to confront sin in love. If a child's friend is a
Christian, then kids need to speak up for what's right. If their
friends aren't Christians, then kids should first pray for that
friend and then tell the friend why gossip is wrong.
Being quiet and not joining in gossip is a good start, but in
time, the child might simply express something like, "I'd rather
not talk about them when they aren't here. I know I'd be hurt if
others were talking about me this way."
If you feel bold, ask your friends if they've talked about you
lately when you weren't around. Then you might have a chance to
stop gossip. Ask God to help you to be strong. It's hard to take a
stand for what's right when others don't see what they're doing as
Start by asking, "What do you think about gossiping?" By
encouraging the child to think about what she already knows about
gossiping, she'll most likely come to the conclusion that gossiping
isn't the best thing to do with friends. How rewarding for a child
when she comes to her own conclusion and is motivated to act
You can't "push" your friends into doing what's right. But you
can take the lead by walking away when they start gossiping. To
stay says, "I'm with you in hurting this person." So be known as
the person who speaks well of others, and take the lead in finding
positive things to say about others.
"Bad things have been happening in my life, and I feel
like God is punishing me. Why does God punish
Kids need to know that God corrects sin in our lives so we become
more like his Son. Sometimes we're punished to learn from mistakes.
Sometimes bad things happen because we can learn from that as
God doesn't punish people, but he does allow things to come into
our lives to help us grow. One of the hardest lessons of life is
recognizing that we seldom grow when everything is going great.
Instead, we usually get lazy spiritually. God doesn't cause our
problems, sin and a fallen world do, but God is there to show us
his love in the midst.
Take time to listen by saying, "Tell me more about the bad things
happening in your life." As you listen, show understanding and
care, and take time to pray for the child. Then respond by saying,
"I don't know why bad things are happening in your life-but what I
do know is that God loves you all the time."
Here are two statements that simply aren't true: Things are
going good for me because I'm good; and Things are going bad for me
because I'm bad. Sometimes we're doing all the right things and
still get slammed by life. Other times, people do wrong things and
seem to get rewarded for it (like that friend who cheated and aced
a test you struggled to pass). But cheaters don't really win, and
God hasn't punished you because you have or haven't tried hard
enough. Life is tough and unfair sometimes, but those tough times
can give you the ability to persevere until things smooth out once
Help the child see that he hasn't been specifically targeted by
God to be punished. This is a place to emphasize God's love and
that he only wants the best for us. Help the child see the good
things in his life. Sometimes we fail to have gratitude for these
things because the bad things overshadow them.
Karl Bastian is the founder of Kidology.org and
an author, speaker, and trainer. He's best known as "The
Ivy Beckwith, Ph.D., is the minister to children
and families at Congregational Church of New Canaan in New Canaan,
Connecticut, and author of Postmodern Children's Ministry.
Amy Dolan is the children's ministry leader for
Willow Creek Association, the founder and leader of Lemon Lime
Kids, and a 15-year children's ministry veteran.
Kandi Elliott is the director of children's
ministries at First Baptist Church of Lansing in Lansing, Illinois,
a presenter for Children's Ministry Magazine Live, and a 28-year
veteran children's minister.
Marlene LeFever is the vice president of
educational development at David C. Cook, the winner of the 2007
Distinguished Educator Award from NAPCE, and a 40-year Christian
John Trent, Ph.D., is the president of the Center
for Strong Families and StrongFamilies.com and author of The
Blessing and The 2 Degree Difference.
Lori Valenzisi is the team pastor at Bridge of
Hope Church in Boardman, Ohio; a presenter for Children's Ministry
Magazine Live, and a 16-year children's ministry veteran.