Kids in middle school really are in the middle! The first years, the toddler and kindergarten years, the focus was on authority. This is where kids learn the most important life lesson of all – Who is in charge? Then they enter the challenging years of in-between. No longer in need of direction and protection for almost everything in their lives they are still not ready for the responsibilities of youth. They are beginning to think about God independently, but are still connected to what their parents believe. They are in the middle!
Life in the middle years isn’t easy. Your middle schooler hears things. She hears the taunts and the temptations of the schoolyard. She knows the darkness from the fears and brokenness caused by her own sin. She also knows of the ugliness of the world around her. Whatever the source, she has seen and experienced the attacks of the kingdom of darkness. She was born a slave to this darkness. The good news is that Jesus is able to rescue her.
Your middle-schooler needs a biblically-centered worldview to thrive and be ready for the teenage years. Worldview is person’s understanding of how the world works, of what is important and what is not. These middle years are where children begin to see that the world is bigger than their parents. And this is the time the world offers alternatives to the gospel.
The problems your middle-schooler faces are not ones that she will outgrow. She may grow physically and grow in her social skills, but the dark issues of the heart will never leave her unless she comes to embrace and live the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel matters!
To help your child know the freedom the biblical worldview offers, you must know your child. You must understand her fears and struggles. You must understand how she views what is happening in her world. When you speak about your love of God and his ways, it must be connected with the world your child inhabits. In short you must gain creditability on the streets of her life. Your worldview must connect with hers at the heart level.
You must intimately know your Savior and your child. This means a sacrificial commitment to both. To know them both, you must love them both. There are no shortcuts. To be a good shepherd of your child you must first be in loving submission to your Shepherd. Your child’s outward behavior is only the first layer of concern. Reaching the heart is what really matters. And reaching the heart is where the gospel matters most. It is the heart that exposes your worldview as true or toxic. Give your middle schooler the beauty of a worldview centered on Christ.