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The Four-Window Model


The power of seeing a child

Observation is the first window we peer through as we help kids
discover who they are. Adults who leverage the Observation window
understand that there’s a story unfolding right before their eyes
in the lives of the kids they love. Because of that, they’re
willing to slow down enough to “see” it. It’s as simple as just
paying attention. It’s looking away from yourself and other
distractions and focusing on the child. It’s watching when the
child plays, studies, interacts, and reacts. Observation involves
the work of attentively watching the one we care for. It’s studying
a child as he or she grows up and recording glimpses of what we see
at any given moment along the way. Observation communicates both
interest and concern. There’s a verse of Scripture from the Old
Testament that says, “Our ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and
he watches all our paths” (Proverbs 5:21). Inherent in God’s loving
nature is that he “sees” his creation. God pays attention to those
he loves. By reflecting this aspect of God’s heart, we communicate
to children that they have value and are worth our attention and


The power of inspiring kids to learn about

The Exploration window is about kids exploring life and
discovering themselves along the way. KidUnique adults learn how to
look through the Exploration window by developing an explorer’s
heart. Explorers are restless to discover. Explorers encourage new
adventures and love to see kids reach for new opportunities. Adults
with an explorer’s heart push onto new ground, understanding on
ever-deeper levels the terrain of a kid’s life. As they do, they
inspire kids to value the exploration process. The Apostle Paul
wanted the child he loved to take personal exploration seriously.
He instructed young Timothy to “pay close attention to yourself” (1
Timothy 4:16). When Paul said that, he wasn’t telling Timothy to be
selfish or self-absorbed. He was reminding Timothy that paying
close attention to yourself is useful; it will tell you things
about yourself you need to know. Paul wanted Timothy to be aware of
the non-stop source of data, information, and insight that was
right in front of him in the form of his reactions to life. The
same is true for us. As the kids we love bump into life, we pay
attention. As they do new things and discover they’re good at some
and not so good at others, we pay attention. Exploration inspires
kids to learn about themselves by trying new opportunities and
adventures. Along the way, we discuss and identify kids’ interests
and strengths.


The power of telling children what’s right with

The Affi rmation window is perhaps the most important: It has
the potential to unleash a child’s gifts upon the world and unlock
their God-given extraordinary. We fuel kids’ future success through
affirmation. Few things are as life affecting as affirmation.
Affirmation is telling a child what’s right with him or her.
Affirmation is being a big enough person and having a strong enough
love to see beyond what’s wrong and point out what’s right. Jesus
did this. He went out of his way to convince his followers they had
value and could become difference makers in the world: “I will make
you fi shers of men” (Mark 1:17); “You are my friends” (John
15:15). These are wonderfully affirming statements that had to fill
the disciples’ hearts. A child will feel the warmth of your
friendship, too, and affirmation will feed the child’s heart.
Affirmation isn’t costly-but it’s worth its weight in gold.


The power of listening to God on the child’s

The core of a discovery rich relationship is spiritual in
nature. From the day a child is conceived there’s far more going on
than meets the eye. We believe that God made these children and
knows them better and loves them more deeply than we ever could.
And we believe that God wants to help as we travel on this journey
together. We also understand that kids ultimately must ask God for
his will concerning their lives. It’s up to us to do everything we
can to help identify and call out what God has put into a child,
but it’s up to them to seek him, too. Learning to look through the
Revelation window is about accessing God’s assistance with this
task. It begins with me saying to God, “I need your help. I can’t
do this alone.” King David had a moment of revelation as to whom
God had made him to be. In Psalm 139:14, David says, “I will give
thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.” King
David’s soul knew who he was and what God’s will was for his life;
his soul knew it “very well.” We long for our kids to know that,
too. The Revelation window encompasses the powerful longing that
lives within each of us.


Dan Webster is the author of KidUnique
(book and video workshop, both produced by Group). He’s
mentored hundreds of children throughout the years. Enjoy a free sample chapter of


This article is excerpted from Children’s Ministry Magazine.

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