It depicts the story that a Caterpillar ate and ate and ate until he was full. Then, he built a cocoon and stayed in it for days. After a little while, the cocoon burst open, and a beautiful butterfly emerged.
The story doesn’t go into detail on this, but we might know that a butterfly’s job is to pollinate. Through the process of pollination, flowers grow, honey is produced, and insect lifecycles continue.
Let me say it this way…The butterfly has an amazing purpose, and God has a purpose for your life, too!
Your job and my job, with God’s help, is to figure out that purpose so we can emerge from the cocoon into a butterfly, spread our wings, and fly.
As someone who has stumbled and fumbled and gone around the same mountain with God when it comes to purpose, here’s what I know to be true:
God Will Give You Your Purpose
Psalms 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Lord takes delight in you seeking Him and spending time with Him. When you come to Him, He will plant seeds in your heart. The seeds then sprout, and eventually, you will want to act on those very seeds He planted in you. You might think, at that point, that your purpose was your idea, but when you discern things from God’s perspective, it’s clear it was His desire for your life all along. (Psalms 37:4 Biblehub.com, NIV).
Nothing is Lost from Your Purpose
You might think you are wasting your time by doing things that aren’t propelling you toward your purpose. But, in fact, when you are in a relationship with God, nothing is lost! God is so good that He uses your mistakes, your wrong directions, and your U-turns to propel you toward your purpose. It will seem like you are on a path to nowhere, but in fact, you will discover you’re at a pivotal point. This is when God will tell you to look back and you’ll see how far you’ve come. It’s no different than the caterpillar’s purpose. It looks like there’s nothing going on when he’s in that cocoon, but in fact, the caterpillar is in the process of becoming what he was meant to be all along! God has a purpose for your life as well.
Where is Your Purpose?
In the midst of discovering your purpose, you must come to know that every season brings new challenges. On the journey toward your purpose, you will likely find that you agree with one or more of these statements.
Where are you now? Do one or all of the following statements resonate with you?
Time Warp: Everything revolves around every one or everything else; I have no time for myself.
Squirrel Mentality: You see everything as your purpose, You want to do it all!
Stuck in the Muck: are you stuck, afraid to make a move one way or another?
Moving Forward with God
Being aware of where you are can help propel you toward your future. As God’s creation, you are always becoming, always being transformed in hopes that you will spread your wings and fly. Stay near to Him and He will guide you from the cocoon to take flight, just like the caterpillar.
Inclusion, equity, and diversity is needed in our schools, homes, and community. When done successfully, we teach children how to celebrate their identity.
According to the article “Racial Identity, Academic Identity, and Academic Outcomes for Students of Color,” “Aspects of an academic identity and an academic self-concept are strongly related to and have an effect on the academic performance of students. Awareness of race and the ways in which structural/institutional racism affects students of color is key to helping them achieve their full academic potential.” (Howard, 2010)
With that said, all students (especially students of color) need things related directly to them in order to succeed to their full potential. My aim is to aid you and your child with the tools needed to service their continued success.
Here are five ways you can teach inclusion, equity, and diversity in your school, home, or community:
1. Be Aware of Unconscious Bias
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.
Examples include the following:
Teachers have preconceived notions about one group of students vs. another.
Teachers saying, “You have good English skills for someone coming from…”
Staff members say, “You live in that part of town? I would never go there,” if the child lives in a part of town that is deemed by society as crime-ridden.
When unconscious biases are made, it makes the person on the receiving end feel alienated. Thus, children are less likely to participate in classroom activities.
2. Be Proactive vs. Reactive
When you see an implicit or unconscious bias occur, you must say something. The more people are allowed to perpetuate unconscious biases in the classroom, the more internal damage a student might experience. Our job is to operate in a proactive mode rather than reacting or putting out fires. The way to lessen the fires within your program is to say something if you see it and teach the staff and children how to lead with inclusion, equity, and diversity.
3. Who are you exposing your children to?
According to Meissner & Brigham, 2001, children as early as three months old can distinguish between their own race faces but not other races. This information shows that, at an early age, children are able to differentiate between caregivers, parents, and family members of the same race. If you are only exposing your children to the same race of people, there may be ramifications that lead to non-exposure. Exposing your children to other races creates trust among other races for your child. Exposing your child to diversity creates a level of comfort among people who look different from what they do. Supporting the need for diversity in childcare settings for staff and children is important for your child even at an early age.
4. Anti-Biased Books
There are many children’s books that promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. Books that show children of color in a positive light. BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) authors have been promoting these messages of the importance of love for everyone’s differences and uniqueness. Books like You Come from Greatness, Hues of You, Callie the Service Dog, and Crowns of Glory are just a few to have in your program.
5. Anti-Biased Curriculum
Let’s get away from our Black History Month consisting of a coloring sheet of Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks. Let’s celebrate Black History outside of the month of February by displaying pictures on the walls of your home or classroom of positive role models, bringing in or visiting cultural community events, and teaching children the truth about history.
In conclusion, inclusion, equity, and diversity in school, home, and community help children become collaborative learners. These practices help educators, parents, and community members strive toward a common goal, one that embodies celebrating every child’s identity.
“Swimmers take your mark”, calls the announcer from the loudspeaker. Beeeeep sounded the buzzer. I dove into the water and glided effortlessly until I took my first stroke. Coming up for air in a fluid motion of succinct breathing, arm strokes, and kicks. I kept a steady pace down the lane, then curled up into a human ball, summer salting underwater known to swimmers as a flip turn and powerfully pushing through at the end of the wall. Then gracefully gliding once again. The art of swimming this heat would be 19 more laps until its completion.
Lap 17, no one on my left, no one on my right. Suddenly I hear the crowd roar as I head in to take my last flip-turn. Just then my thoughts creep in. That loud cheer couldn’t be for me. Someone must have just won I thought.
I had more and more time to think. To second guess. For the enemy to settle in with the negative self-talk. To tell me what I had already been playing in my head. I am the only one who looks like me here, I am not good enough to win this race. My body doesn’t look like theirs. I am not a swimmer.
Succumbed to the doubt I began to slow down. The lead that I didn’t know I had was gone. I had lost the race that I later learned I was actually winning. That loud roar… was for me, they were cheering me on neck and neck down the last lap. Only I couldn’t see it.
Instead of going faster when the crowd cheered I self-sabotaged, I stopped trying altogether.
Have you had moments where you begin to shrink or hold yourself back, too?
It was a sport that I absolutely loved and yet I had convinced myself otherwise.
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So why do we continue to condemn ourselves?
If you haven’t started already let God show you who you are through His eyes. You are not your failures or condemned. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
I want you to acknowledge your shrinking stories, the ones you tell yourself when you are all alone with your thoughts.
If you are harboring those stories and letting them guide you as your truth, you are going to remain stuck. Instead, ask God to speak His word into your life, ask Him to reveal His truth of you.
When you do this, you will go through a change and transformation that God has been calling you to. Then, you will be able to move forward with a renewed identity in Christ.
Hey mama, I feel like the ministry of motherhood is the most rewarding and challenging ministry ever! If you are the best parent, cool under pressure, praise the Lord! However, I have had moments of insanity while raising kids until I started doing this one simple act.
What act am I referring to?
Yes, praying over your kids, for your kids, and with your kids makes you – and them better people!
Here are the top 3 reasons why prayer is necessary for the ministry of motherhood
Stop the Insanity
Since prayer is the lifeline between you and God, when you pray, he listens. As a result, your prayers will be answered (in his timing, of course). Mathew 7:7-8 tells us to seek, and we will find. Knock, and the door will be open. The problem is that a lot of times, his children fail to ask. Maybe you think prayers are for people who are worse off than you. Or that he has bigger things to solve than how to have more patience with your kids.
Sis, the enemy wants you to believe that your prayers do not matter. For instance, you might have reservations about praying for your kid not to touch everything in the store because there are so many people in the world suffering. You might feel your small prayer is not valid compared to all the things you could be praying over. The reason to pray is to build a relationship with your Father. God sees the struggles and pain in your everyday life. He is waiting for you to talk to him about your ministry of motherhood role. However insignificant you think your situation might be, Jesus is waiting patiently to listen and help.
How to pray for your motherhood ministry
Whether you know it or not, motherhood is a ministry. It takes great strength to raise a family. Believe that you are not alone in this ministry of motherhood. Your job is to bring up humans that exemplify what the bible teaches. Since a child understands by example, be the example for your child. For instance, do your children see you reading the bible, praying, and doing good works? Start praying for the ability to lead as God wants you to. Since God hears your prayers, Holy Spirit will guide you in raising your children.
Praying with and affirming your kids
We always did our nightly prayers, but I realized our children needed prayer in the morning too. My kids needed me to set the tone of the day. I had to help them get to a peaceful state of mind before the school day started. Our morning prayer routine turned into opportunities to pray with other family members using the Our Daily Bread app.
Part of our morning prayer time includes speaking God’s promises over them. For a complete list of the affirming scriptures, click here. When you Affirm your kids with scripture, you tell them how God sees them.
So today, pray for yourself in the ministry of motherhood, as well as the children you are leading. Grab your affirmations or make your own and start praying with and over your kids. I am praying for you! It takes a village to raise a family.
Christian mama’s, let’s talk about raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation. Here’s what you need to know about the Alpha generation. Gen alpha is your current 0 to 10-year-olds. They have the most access to technology; they are the least likely to get enough outdoor time. According to parenting.firstcry.com, gen alpha will be the most independent, reliant on technology, and least like to conform to any religion. Gen alpha could be the most self-absorbed, non-conforming generation yet. With all the predictions around gen alpha, how are Christian parents supposed to raise their children?
Raising your gen alpha child will be a lot easier when you implement these biblically-based parenting ideas.
Christian parents go straight to the source
As a parent, I have been in panic mode listening to what society says about my kids. Until I realized children belong to God. Which means you aren’t parenting alone. You are parenting with God. Since God entrusts you with this gift, it is your responsibility to ensure you are consulting the source. There is an inner peace that surpasses all understanding when you consult with God. So start talking to God about your children. The authors of the newest generational article cannot tell you who your child will be or how to best care for them. But, reading your bible and having a relationship with God will lead you toward healthy child-rearing.
God created your child with a specific purpose and mission. Try to hone and develop their young minds in the ways Christ will have them go. Therefore, resist who society says your children are.
If you can’t change the generation, influence it!
Parents, caregivers, and media influencers raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation can influence society by deciding what your child will watch. For instance, subscribing to positive programming like ChristGEO and Pureflix This encouraging programming has an opportunity to protect their hearts, eyes, and minds from the harmful society programming that may be in the world today. You might not be able to change an entire culture, but you can change a household and influence those who are listening.
Create the Balance for raising your Christian kids
Help your child discover a healthy balance of outdoor time versus screen time. The article from childmind.org, why kids need to spend time in nature, reveals the benefits of spending time outdoors linked to mood and a general feeling of wellness overall. So, set the limits on TV and screen time, get your children outdoors in nature where they can experience the wonders of the creator. Open up dialogue for discussion, discovery, and wonder.
Parents and caregivers raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation have an opportunity to strengthen the youngest minds. Learn all you can about how to sow the seeds of the future by seeing God’s truth for children and help them realize they are set apart. We will never be able to change society; so let the goal be to influence change from where you are and being open to the balance of discovery and wonder.
In conclusion, Go to the source, let God into your parenting; he knows what you need. You can influence them too! You might not be able to control everything that your child will do. However, you can positively influence what they watch and hear. Lastly, create the balance of outdoor and indoor time that their minds need to grow healthy. Implementing these biblically-based parenting ideas will help you raise children in the alpha generation.
Sara Chinakwe is an author and children’s ministry leader. She encourages the youngest of minds and equips women to pursue God’s purpose. Sara inspires women and children to see themselves as God sees them. Sara resides in Sacramento, California with, her husband and two children. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com