Just before falling asleep last night, in a lower bunkbed with a cabin full of 10 year old boys all-jacked-up-on-Mountain-Dew, I wrote down some thoughts and today I wanted to share them. I volunteered to be a chaperone at my son's over-night 5th grade public school activity at a local nature camp. I was thinking about how God desires to have relationship with all his creatures and how it was that he could accomplish this in an authentic manner. I just might have a small part in leading them into being a mature person in a real reciprocal relationship with their Maker. Here's my thoughts: These kids are smart, really. These kids are people with whom God wants a future relationship of authentic reciprocity. What can I do to help them connect the dots? What can I do to help them towards that end? It is especially with these that we are to fear offending such that they would have reason to doubt, by extrapolation, that God loves them, desires to be close to them, that they are valuable, that God is good, that God exists. It is better to desire to be drowned with neck chained to millstone than to offend them thusly. Don't make it easy for kids to not believe God. There is so much to be nurtured in these kids. There are glimmerings of future leaders, actors, scientists, authors, just trying to burst through! Like rosebuds whose green shape giving way to the beautiful color within that is just starting to show it's potential. How can we best aid to bring this about without force or coercion, which too often bruises the bud and thereby diminishing its potential? At times the kids would need redirection and discipline. In seeking compliance, it is one thing to use position and authority and it is another to use influence. The one you use if you must, the other if you can. The one wears down and erodes the relationship, the other proves and strengthens the relationship. The one is assumed, the other earned. The one a coercive, abstract a priori, the other a relationship of respect. The one requires only unthinking obedience, the other reflective contemplation. The one objectifies, the other respects personhood.