KidCheck Secure Children's Check-In Shares a Guest Post From Orange Leader Kristen Ivy

This week we are featuring a guest post from Orange leader Kristen Ivy. Kristen is the President at Orange (the reThink Group, Inc) and Parent Cue, a live podcast for parents. She co-founded The Phase Project and has a degree in secondary education and a Master of Divinity from Mercer University.  She is a busy mom of three and wife to Orange Specialist Matt Ivy.  Her passion is to influence the next generation.

In the post, Kristen shares what she has learned about taking advantage of our limited time with our children. Whether you are a parent or work in ministry with kids weekly,  this post helps us to see how every moment becomes more precious and important with illustrations such as the marble jar. As a reminder, she shares six things children need weekly and why they matter.



What parents do over time matters. These are the six things your kid needs every week to shape them into who God made them to be.

When I (Kristen Ivy) first became a mom, I was working with Reggie Joiner – Founder and CEO of Orange. He told me something that forever changed the way I view parenting.

Reggie gave me a jar with 936 marbles. Each marble represented the estimated weeks between birth and high school graduation. He challenged me to remove a marble each week to help me see the amount of time I had left with my baby.

I know that sounds a tad depressing on one hand, but the point of the jar is this:

When you see how much time you have left, you tend to change how you see your time now. 

Every moment becomes that much more important. Each day becomes that much more precious.

The Marble Jar

This concept of the marble jar has become a key component of our parenting strategy at Orange. Because if we’re honest, a countdown clock gives us focus. It helps us make what matters, matter more. And according to our research, 42% of parents worry about their children’s faith. If we want to help shape the faith of a kid, we must look at each and every marble as an opportunity to invest over time.

You can’t make a kid love God. But over time, you can help them understand who God is. You can’t force them to love others. But over time, you can teach them how the Gospel can help us see what really matters in people.

It’s why we want parents everywhere to understand that what you do this week matters because it adds up over time.

When you repeat these habits over time, what seems routine is actually memorable and powerful.

6 Things Your Kid Needs Over Time

We believe that you (if you are a parent) and the parents in your ministries are already doing so much for your kids. In fact, whether you realize it or not, you are probably already doing these six things every week to leave a spiritual legacy. But, as a reminder here are the six things your kid needs every week, because if you remember why it matters then you can simply keep doing it.

1.     Your kid needs you to show up with love.

Just because you love someone, doesn’t mean they feel loved. How can we love a teen as God did? By showing them love over time. When we consistently show up in our kid’s life, it gives them a sense of worth. And let’s face it, while we’re really good at telling kids we love them, we struggle to show them what they are worth. It’s too easy to forget that when God created humans, he didn’t just say they were good, but He said they were very good. Let’s lean into a generation and remind them that they were fearfully and wonderfully made.

2.     Your kid needs words over time.

What can words really do over time? For one thing, it can move someone in a better direction. The words that I say to my kid this week will give them a spiritual and relational vocabulary to connect with God and others. See, over time, words will help your kid win and reason. If you want them to know they matter, then what you say matters.

3.     Your kid needs stories.

Did you know that humans are the only species that can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes? It’s been proven that kids who read fiction develop greater empathy than kids who do not. That’s why rich stories are critical to a kid’s ability to form relationships and increase their emotional intelligence.  The brain is wired for stories. Imagination is ignited with them! Jesus knew this, and he used stories to affect our perspective about God and the world. The Bible stories we tell our kids will shape their perspective of God. If you want your kid to have perspective, give them stories.

4.     Your kid needs fun.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that kids have a play drive. Research shows that play history can determine how successful kids become at work as adults. Even the Bible had feast days, celebrations in the Hebrew calendar, and parables of parties! While fun is okay for “fun’s sake,” fun over time builds trust in a friendship. Fun over time builds connection. Connections build trust. To be honest, I’m not sure that a kid or teen is convinced you like them if you’re not having fun with them. Try to create moments of fun over time with your kid to help them see that you are trustworthy.

5.     Your kid needs a sense of work over time.

Work overtime gives kids a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It’s through work that God can show them His power and goodness. By providing opportunities for your kid to work, you help them see what God can do through them.

6.     Your kid needs people.

People need people. Everyone needs to fit in and be seen by somebody. When you as a parent, prioritize relationships with other people in your kid’s life, they will develop a sense of belonging. After all, God never intended for us to be alone. At creation, he gave Adam a suitable partner to walk through life alongside. People were literally God’s plan! They remind us that we belong to God and to each other. If you want your kids and teens to grow in God’s image, wrap them in a community of people who welcome them and forgive them over time.

Parent, you are doing something that matters more than you might realize. Keep showing up for your kid or teen. Because when that last marble leaves the jar, you will thank God for the consistency you had over time to help shape them into the incredible human God was making them to be.

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Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash