Be the Adult Who Notices Kids

Líderes de Niños

There was a time when I thought I had a strange superpower. It was no surprise to me at church that kids would wave to me from across the room or run to greet me. I am their pastor, after all. I’m greeted with smiles, waves, high-fives, and even hugs any time I am around the kids I minister to. They love me because they know that I love them, too.

But I started to notice that often I got similar reactions from kids when I was at a store, a county fair, or even out of state sitting in an airport. Kids would wave at me and send me a big smile – and often from great distances. There were times when I would turn and look behind me thinking certainly, they weren’t looking at me! I would smile or wave back, baffled at why I was receiving this greeting when they had no idea that I was a children’s pastor who loved children. Often, I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself to their parents and more than a few times I ended up inviting them to church. Perhaps God had enabled me to be able to capture the eye of kids for outreach purposes?

The mystery was solved one day as I was having lunch with a fellow children’s pastor – when a child sitting all the way across the restaurant waved at me. I commented, “That happens to me all the time!” My friend said, “Me, too!” After joking that it was my superpower, my friend gently informed me that I didn’t actually have any superpowers. Instead, he revealed to me the reason why kids I’d never met would light up and greet me even from great distances: I had noticed them.

Children are constantly looking around, taking in the world around them. In that constant surveillance of the world, they see adults who are oblivious to the existence of children. It’s not that they don’t like kids, it’s just that they are busy going about their lives – and kids are overlooked. Many adults never make eye contact with kids because they don’t matter to the adults in those moments. But they matter to you and me, don’t they?

When we see kids, we notice them. Even from far away. I thought kids were initiating contact when they smiled or waved at me. The reality is, they were responding to me. I had noticed them. And there is a good chance – instinctively – I smiled first, because my life is about reaching and teaching kids for Jesus. I stopped and lingered for even a brief moment when I noticed them. And that was when they responded.

Never be too busy to notice the children! Smile, wave, and get down on their eye level if you have the opportunity. There is a lot we want to teach them – but it starts with simply noticing them – before we can point them to Jesus. Obviously, we must be wise when interacting with kids, and engage their parents first – but what an opportunity to reach both kids and families for Christ!

2 Chronicles 16:9 states that the “eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” I believe the eyes of our children range to see who notices them. Don’t disappoint them. Be the one who sees the kids, and God will use you to change their lives.


You can access this entire magazine for free here: Edition 40

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