5keys belong ARTICLE Help children belong #05 Help in navigating the environment

5keys belong ARTICLE Help children belong #05 Help in navigating the environment

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Help in navigating the environment

Familiarity with the boundaries & surroundings will help a child sense this is ‘my place’!

When a place is new to a person it takes a little time to find out where things are. It takes a lot longer to work out if their are any taboos or no-go zones. Be proactive and orientate a new comer or a child of a certain age to the place and practices of your faith community.

ARTICLE: Series: Help children belong #05

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Of course, part of any welcome could include a tour of the facilities either with a few pointers or a detailed map. For a child, knowing where and how the toilets work is always going to be helpful. How often do we take the trouble of showing and explaining. On one hand, isn’t this the normal part of life, figuring this sort of stuff out for yourself? But it only takes one bad experience for one child to potentially put that child off. Managing this fairly well for most people could be helpful. Finding the right, fun way to orientate new people, particularly children, is part of the challenge!

Most newcomers take a while work out if there are any taboos or no-go zones in a new place. These are usually discovered when they are transgressed. Helping children know the behavioural expectations regarding the new environment does take effort but it can be fun.  Even a child born into the church family will be confronted with new and different behavioural expectations when they are of a certain age or of a particular height. Sometimes these cultural norms are hard to teach but are ‘caught’. Teaching them helps us to evaluate why we do what we do as a faith community. If the way we help children to navigate the place is done without a level of formality, knowing how to gently and respectfully address issues as they arise without the growls and scowls will help immensely. What we would love to see is a child navigating the environment without diminishing any sense that he belongs. Reviewing this whole process will be an important part of this factor.

Correcting children with grace and a smile rather than with a growl and a frown is a discipline of the faith community. Growing and practicing this discipline as children grab for an extra handful of biscuits at morning tea means that this little helpful response is one of the things that adds up for a child when they are 12 or 13 and deciding whether or not this church thing is something for them.

[phildup55/Phillip Day © midst.com.au This article is FreeShare.
Part or all of the text may be used provided it is not for profit
and provided it carries this complete, square-bracketed tag.] [hr toptext=”Last updated: 05/09/2014 … pd” size=”tiny” custom_size=”” hide_mobile_hr=”true”] [image url=”http://midst.com.au/wp-content/uploads/think05.png” title=”Reflection” alt=”http://midst.com.au/” raw=”true” alignment=”left” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”10″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”-4″ width=”36″ height=”36″]

For reflection

What have you seen or heard of or experienced that relates to this?

•  Take a walk around the boundaries and structures of your buildings. What do you assume everyone knows about? How does this work? E.g. … Why is that door locked? Who goes in there? What’s that process all about? How do we get a pigeon hole? Who’s that for and why? What are the guidelines for that activity? Where ARE the toilets and how did they end up there? Where do I find this stuff out?
•  Out of all this, what matters for the children in our midst? How can we partner with parents to keep all this in mind as we welcome children into our midst?
•  Does this article help you to consider a child’s sense of belonging? What is a practical next step for you in this regard?
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Reference

We gratefully acknowledge the following sources.

http://toolkit.midst.com.au/tool03/
This link helps to explore the idea of ‘A worm welcome’ as well.
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Notes

• Author: phildup55 • Date: 05/09/2014

• Personal pronouns used as required in this article: he/him

Copyright/freeshare
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