Wendy Jarrott-Smith’s role with the KIDS HOPE AUS Mentoring Program, is to assist churches in building a quality partnership with their local school, in the provision of Mentors for vulnerable children. At the present time, there are nearly 400 school-church partnerships, under the umbrella of KIDS HOPE AUS, across Australia, with approximately 4000 children being mentored each week
Anyone who has lived in a ‘pole house’, as our family did for five years, will tell you about ‘the flex’. ‘The flex’ can be quite disconcerting when you first experience it. You know in your head, that the long poles, which are so prominent in this type of architecture, are driven down into bedrock (often to a depth of three metres or so), providing not only a unique appearance, but a high degree of strength. However, while the poles’ fixture in the bedrock provides the ‘hidden’ strength to support the structure, the towering poles above the ground, also have another quality – ‘flex’. This is what provides the experience of ‘sway’ and what makes pole houses so perfect for withstanding cyclonic winds. Cyclone-rated houses need to have just the right balance of strength and flexibility. If their construction is too rigid, they will fall heavily; and if too flimsy, they will literally be blown apart.
How like life this is.
How do we prepare for the storms of life which are thrown at us? More than that, how do we help the children, whom we minister to in our communities, to be ready to face all that life throws at them? For many of these precious children in our children’s clubs and Boy’s Brigades; Sunday Schools and R. E. classes; Children’s camps and KIDS HOPE AUS Programs…….everyday life may be like living inside a cyclone. Some have been forced to grow up too quickly, to witness violence and anger. Some may have been bullied, or have had to face circumstances which have left them feeling helpless and alone. Some may have become bitter and hardened by experiencing abuse or knowing what it feels like to be unwanted. Life has truly buffeted them.
So how do we help these precious young people in our communities and churches, to be resilient in the face of all of this?
We can build their ‘strength’ by:
- Being a trustworthy adult in their lives
- Listening attentively to them, and praying for their specific needs
- Explicitly describing to them the strength and qualities we see in them
- Taking care to remember facts about their lives that are important to them
- Giving them the opportunity to have choices
We can build their ‘flexibility’ by:
- Reminding children they have options in how they respond to negative situations
- Helping them see how YOU may handle difficulties or failure
- Providing opportunities to take risks or to be courageous
- Developing humour and positivity in our relationship with them
- Giving them opportunities to make ‘real’ contributions to someone else
One of my favourite quotes about parenting, which equally applies to our ministry with children, says,
“The most precious gift we can give to our children is roots and wings”.
No matter the ‘what’ or the ‘where’ of our ministry to children, those of us called to walk a little of life’s journey with them, can also give children roots and wings………and strength and flex……. as week to week we pray for them; be Jesus’ hands and feet to them; and spend time with them, helping them to stand strong through the storms of their world.
Footnotes: http://www.worldvision.com.au/kidshope • Wendy Jarrott-Smith’s role with the KIDS HOPE AUS Mentoring Program, is to assist churches in building a quality partnership with their local school, in the provision of Mentors for vulnerable children. At the present time, there are nearly 400 school-church partnerships, under the umbrella of KIDS HOPE AUS, across Australia, with approximately 4000 children being mentored each week.
For more information about this vital work please contact Wendy on:
0428 566 638 or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to
Post date: 16/06/2014 • Post Author: Sally Contessi