In 2 Timothy 1:1-7, we see that Paul the Apostle was generational in his thinking. Timothy was a protégée of Paul and he was being groomed and mentored by him. He recognized the faith that Timothy had which was as a result of his family upbringing. Timothy’s values were passed down from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul believed that that same faith was also in Timothy.
The training of children is the only guarantee of the continuation of God’s agenda on earth and Just as Paul took on training Timothy we must take it upon ourselves to groom and nurture the next generation. We must be deliberate in our commitment to groom the next generation. We can’t afford to be casual about it.God trusts those who engage in it with His plans.
Some strategies for influencing the next generation are;
- Believe in them
Paul believed in Timothy and had high expectations of him. Young people try to live up to the expectations of people they love and respect, when we believe in them and set high expectations for them, it encourages them to rise up to the standards we have set for them. If you believe, they are capable of doing things right and doing great things!
- Teach and guide them with the Word Of God.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Young people need guidance and direction, we should teach them early enough to study, understand and apply the Word of God to their lives.
- Be accessible and ready to interact
Be close to them. They want to talk but don’t necessarily trust the older generation. Interaction breaks the barriers much better than just dishing out instructions will. They want to be able to reach and touch those who they look up to, they want to know that the role models they see from afar are reachable and are real. Past generations may have been content to see these role models on TV or just read about them. These ones want to interact. It influences them greatly when the leaders they love and admire can be reached. Interact with them and engage them.
- Tell stories
We should be real and open with the younger generation. Tell them the truth, show them where the rubber meets the road. Share personal stories freely, be vulnerable with them and don’t be afraid to talk about your mistakes. Reach out to them,talk to them, show them love. Persist in showing love to them. They may not open up at first but with persistence and love, you will break through the barriers and reach them.
5. Listen and empathize
Parents & teachers especially need to be sensitive to the young ones. Be fun, be lovable, you can reach them more easily that way. Be sensitive to the children around you, they have their own thoughts and ‘problems’ too… We have to see young people differently, with love and compassion in our hearts we will speak kindly to them.
- Love and Validate them.
We all need love. Love is a powerful force and is the most defining factor of my life and my work. Treat children with dignity. They are human beings too, just smaller versions. A lion cub is still a lion!
- Protect Them From Predators And Abusers
There are people that want to prey on their naivety. Don’t put them in or encourage situations that compromise their safety.You have to see greatness in your child no matter what, protect that greatness.
Like Pharoah’s daughter in Exodus 2:1-26, we need to have a heart of compassion for children and young people.We are stewards over the children God gives us and those around us. He will pay us for caring for His heritage.
- Get Involved In Social Media
If we want to influence the younger generation, we have to take social media seriously. This is a high tech generation that interacts daily with technology. Be where they are, learn the rules of engagement and interact effectively with them on these platforms.
- Give them Platforms of Expression
Encourage creativity and give them opportunities to express their talents. Invest in them and support them their ideas, give them right education, help them invest in their skills. Give time and money to support their dreams. In the midst of the chaos and high – handedness in the world today, let us train and look to these young ones for the solution.
- Lead by Example.
Be honest, do things right. Be accountable. Don’t act like you are above the law and cannot be questioned so that they can follow your lead.
- Love & Pray For Them
To sum it all up, love them. Point them to a loving God who they might want to develop a relationship with. Remember them in your prayers. They need all the prayers and help they can get, spiritually, emotionally, socially.Even when it seems they are doing the wrong things and going down the wrong path, don’t give up on them. Guide them.Lead them to a loving God who they might want to develop a relationship with themselves.
Enjoy a release of Gods grace for wisdom to influence the next generation in Jesus name..
In His Love,