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Christian Living

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Reaching Kids in Time

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Dwight Bain - Life Coach & Counselor

As we look to the next school year, some school districts have eliminated or are considering getting rid of after-school programs to trim down their budget.

Cutting out sports, music, drama, and journalism to send students home early, often to an empty house, is a bad plan for countless reasons. The greatest risk of eliminating after school programs is the tremendous loss of character and leadership development kids get from being part of a team or sharing in activities that stretch their thinking and creativity.

Have you ever had a little experience that impacted you in a big way? Like the little things that build up and create immediate frustration, and maybe even ruin an otherwise good day. Traffic, your cell phone drops reception in the middle of an important call, the cleaners don’t get your power suit cleaned in time for a key meeting or you race to get the phone and discover it’s a computer trying to sell you something. Little pressures can build up and become major problems faster than you realize. How much more are those little memories a part of who you are as an adult. Our experiences build our character, so let's make sure our kids are getting good ones.

Kids Grow Up Fast

Our kids grow up faster than we realize. If we can help them find their creative ‘fit’, they will grow strong and resist temptations that come when mom and dad aren't around. It’s easy to take for granted that kids will grow up automatically well-balanced, mature, and ready to lead when someone older retires. That's just not so. Nothing about parenting is easy, and families have more pressure than ever... and so do their kids.

Since much of what we will live out in life we learned during our early childhood experiences, it’s essential to make those as positive as possible. Childhood activities will shape a majority of our core values, so it’s essential to build these experiences into the lives of our kids and grandkids. Child psychologist James C. Dobson says it this way. “Values are not taught to children, they are caught by children.” Kids are continually learning by watching the adults around them.

Think about it! Somewhere in a world of toy cars, video games, and American Girl dolls are future presidents, pastors, doctors, bankers, teachers, sheriffs and dentists. Before you get too worried about the future of these kids, I want to share some good news. It's something I witnessed in my hometown of Orlando. A series of billboards showed childhood photos of famous people who were positively influenced by programs at their local Boys & Girls Club.

Finding a Great Resource for Your Kids

If you are picking out a program other than the Boys & Girls Club, consider using their great outline of five key areas to select a well-rounded way to build strength into your kids.

Five Core Program Areas

1) Character & Leadership Development - Empower youth to become more global citizens who support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character and respect their own and others’ cultural identities.

2) Education & Career Development - Enable youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, set goals, explore careers, prepare for employment, and embrace technology to achieve success in a career.

3) Health & Life Skills - Develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals, and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.

4) The Arts - Encourage youth to develop their creativity and culture awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts, and creative writing.

5) Sports, Fitness & Recreation - Programs develop fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment, and social skills.

Pay attention to the small details of parenting your kids today and their character will reflect it down the road.

*Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To receive this valuable weekly resource, subscribe at www.lifeworksgroup.org.

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