On September 11th, I attended my first Orange Tour One Day training. The event’s theme, “Its Just a Phase (So Don’t Miss It)” was a powerful reminder for parents, children’s ministers, and youth workers of the importance of recognizing the life stages of each student and meeting the unique needs that each stage presents.
I walked away from the incredible training experience with ministry and parenting altering ideas and information. Below is the first in a series of posts containing information from this training. I would highly recommend purchasing It’s Just a Phase by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy for may more insights and resources.
Here are the significant takeaways from the presentations:
Phases in Each Child’s Life
Phase: a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. God uniquely designs every phase in a child’s life so the child can learn a different aspect of God. A hundred years from now all that will matter is a kid’s relationship with God.
Phase Profiles (Reminders of why every phrase matters)
- Zero to One – The phase when nobody sleeps, everybody smells, and one mesmerizing baby convinces you, “I need you now.”
- One and Two – The phase when nobody’s on time, everything’s a mess, and one eager toddler will insist, “I can do it.”
- Threes and Fours – The phase when anything can be imagined, everything can be a game, and one curious preschooler wants to know, ” Why?”
- Kindergarten and First – The phase when unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes your cry, and life becomes a stage when your kid shouts, “Look at me.”
- Second and Third – The phase when fairness matters most, differences get noticed, and your enthusiastic kid thinks everything “Sounds like fun!”
- Fourth and Fifth – The phrase when friends are best friends, games are for competition, and your confident kid will insist, “I’ve got this.”
Which phase matters most?
- The phase that matters most are the phases that are happening right now.
- The phases that matters most are the phases that happen before and after this phase. If you know where they came from and where they are going, you can maximize the present experience.
At every phase a kid is asking a questions about their world. . .
- Birth – Am I safe? The goal is to establish trust.
- 1 and 2 – Am I able?
- 3 and 4 – Am I ok?
- K and 1st – Do I have your attention?
- 2nd and 3rd – Do I have what it takes?
- 4th and 5th – Do I have friends?
Your response to each of these questions must be done with love.
Every kid around you is wearing an invisible sign that is asking an invisible question. It is up to you as a leader and parent to be aware that question exists and needs to be answered.”
Ministry Roles at Each Phase
- Our role is to remind parents at every phrase to keep parenting with an end in mind. These roles as volunteers shift and change with every phrase.
- Preschool – Embrace their physical needs (Where we establish physical trust that can have lasting effects on how they trust people)
- Elementary – Engage their interests (Where we earn relational credit.)
- Middle School – Affirm their personal journey (Where we have opportunities to prove relational commitment.)
- High School – Mobilize their potential (Where we leverage relational influence.)