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Summary: 2 of 4 messages on Parenthood. This message focuses on Jesus treatment of children in Mark 10:13-16. This was also a Baby Dedication Day

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Parenthood – Designing Kids for a Successful Launch

The Unchanging Principles of Parenting

What does it take to really launch a kid into life successfully? This is an important question!

Parents spend thousands of dollars on educational toys, computers with internet access, special schools, tutoring instructors, and help getting their kids ready for college. Others work hard getting their kids into sports activities, scouting functions, and summer camp experiences.

While none of these things are bad. None of them are a substitute for what changes a child’s life and sets them up for a successful launch into life AND into eternity!

That takes something much simpler and much more important than any of these things. Let me draw from the wisdom and teaching of the most important and significant teaching on this subject. I do not refer to Dr. Spock of the 50’s nor do I refer to the founder of the Montessori approach to training children. This teacher is not the author of Baby Wise or any of the books currently on the NY Times Best seller list or the Amazon Top authors list. This teacher didn’t even write a book… He just changed our world forever.

His name is Jesus. Let’s read together from the good news according to Mark.

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

One of my favorite images and impressions of Jesus is of him playing with children and throwing his head back with laughter.

This is not the way we usually think of Jesus. Somber, serious, eyes focused far off, and appearing to be thinking profound thoughts – this is how we generally think of Jesus.

Mark gives us a whole different perspective of the Lord of the Universe doesn’t he? Mark pictures a guy who loves children and models for us what it takes to really impact a kid’s life.

Notice three critical components.

Loving Touch

“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them…”

Mark 10:13

haptomai (hap’-tom-ahee); to attach oneself to, embrace or touch.

We’re talking about hugging here – people!

Kids in the U.P are often called a term of endearment that threw me the first time I heard it. In fact, I had a mental/audio double take when a mother looked down at her child and said, “Here’s my little lover!”

Wow – isn’t that the best description you ever heard for a kid though? Especially when they are sleeping! It’s a little tougher to attach that title to a kid covered in mud and digging through your flower bed – but the rest of the time it really fits.

Children are lovers and they need to be touched and held. It has been shown and proven that babies that are not held will simply die. Children that are forced through war or abandoned because of economic forces grow up to be psychologically impaired. They have many different problems – because no one touched them – physically or emotionally.

Hug Therapy

Various experiments have shown that touch can:

Make us feel better about ourselves and our surroundings

Have a positive effect on childreen’st language development and IQ

Cause measurable physiological changes in the toucher and the touched

Kathleen Keating, “Hug Therapy Book”

Hugging:

Feels good, Dispels loneliness, Overcomes fears, Opens

doors to feelings, Builds self-esteem, Slows down aging, Helps curb appetite – we eat less when nourished by hugs and our arms are busy when wrapped around others, Eases tension, Fights insomnia, Keeps arm and shoulder muscles in condition, Provides stretching exercise if you are short, Provides stooping exercise if you are tall

...Offers a wholesome alternative to promiscuity

Offers a healthy save alternative to , Alcohol and other drug abuse (better hugs than drugs), Affirms physical being,

...Is democratic: anyone is eligible for a hug, Is ecologically sound, does not upset the environment, Is energy-efficient, saves heat, Is portable, Requires no special equipment, Demands no special setting; any place from a doorstep to an executive conference room, from a church foyer to a football field, is a fine place for a hug!

...Makes happy days happier, Makes impossible days possible. Imparts feelings of belonging, Fills up empty place in our lives,

...And keeps on working to dispense benefits even after the hugs release!

This need does not diminish as the children get older. It changes but it does not diminish.

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