Relationally Starved?

I was sitting in church on Sunday listening to a person speak on various matters. Ok, let me start over.  I was actually running up and down the lobby of our church, chasing my two year old because he wouldn’t sit still in the sanctuary and wouldn’t cooperate in the nursery.  So I tried to listen to bits and pieces of the sermon via speakers in the hallway while giving my own sermon of “stop that, get up, come here, don’t mess with the water fountain, walk please, don’t bother that nice man, don’t bother that nice woman, don’t mess with anything that resembles a human or something they might sit on or otherwise find value in.” Amen.

Anyway, I didn’t hear much.  But I did pick up on a piece that intrigued me.  He made a comment about the generation of our children being “relationally starved.”   Now I didn’t hear all of his comments on this, so I won’t go into whether I agree or disagree with his take on how this equates to a child’s religious belief system. But I would like to give my two cents worth.

It seems everyone has an opinion about this generation of youth.  Unfortunately, it seems to me, most of those opinions aren’t favorable.  Think of the common, and sometimes most over-used excuses for our kids…. The single parent household, the family who has been a product of generational poverty, and my favorite, the two parents that work many hours and rely on a center to care for their children for most of the week.

Granted there are cases where those situations can cause very stressful situations for families… I’m not turning a blind eye to that fact.  But there are many cases where students have found successes in spite of difficult circumstances, and maybe even with the help of those circumstances.

The more I toss it around, I’m not so sure that our students are “relationally starved.”  I just think that relationships look much different today than they have in generations past.  Their relationships are more fluid and maybe a little more fragile.  It is obvious that advances in technology have changed the way relationships are built and maintained (it has for me).  This doesn’t mean that children aren’t in need of the same nurturing and love that we might have had, but there are other layers that we need to ask them about.  And I think that might be the key, ASK THEM!

Dad and son on farm

I firmly believe that the heart of constructivism is trust.  Trust stems from a relationship that is constantly monitored and cared for.  Kind of like farming- the field you ignore will be the field that gives you the most difficulty down the road.  But unlike crops in a field, our students can tell us what they need- let’s listen.