WMU Blog

Helping Preschoolers with Stress

Seeing images of natural disasters and hearing adults talking about them can create anxiety in young children. Over the past several weeks, we have all watched the tragedy of Nepal’s earthquakes unfold. Last week, multiple people were killed in a major landslide in Colombia. In the United States, we’ve recently seen multiple regions damaged by tornadoes and strong storms.

Preschoolers may experience stress reactions to these disasters even when they are not directly affected by them. Anxiety often arises out of feelings of powerlessness and lack of control. Very young children haven’t acquired the same coping mechanisms that adults, or even older children, have developed. Use these suggestions to help you talk to your preschoolers when they exhibit signs of stress related to seeing and hearing about natural disasters:

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Rethink Influence

If you were invited to be the leader of a small group at church or a task force at work, how would you respond? For some, the immediate response would be, “Oh no, I can’t do that; I’m not a leader!” Others might say, “Let me think [or pray] about it” and then come back with a similar response. Only on a rare occasion might someone respond immediately with “Wow! Really? I’d love to do that! Thanks for asking.”

Taylor Field reminds us in his book Upside Down Leadership: Rethinking Influence and Success that leadership is the ability to influence others. Regardless of how we respond to leadership opportunities, the truth is we all have the power to influence others. Think about the places we influence everyday: the decisions made in our families, our influence over policies when we go to the polls and vote, and the impact of our words each time we praise or tear down a friend or family member. All of these actions influence others and often reveal our ability—or lack of ability—to lead as we influence the world around us.

Tell Preschoolers About God

  • God loves me.
  • God loves all people.
  • God wants me to love and help others.
  • God wants me to tell others about Him.

These simple concepts are basic spiritual truths we want preschoolers to learn in Mission Friends. As we focus on the Christian concept area of God this month, the above concepts are taught through the activities and stories in Mission Friends. Throughout this month, be mindful to repeat these concepts with your preschoolers.

Wholehearted

Taylor and Susan Field, missionaries at Graffiti Church in New York City

Taylor and Susan Field, missionaries at Graffiti Church in New York City, were both called to urban missions very early in their lives. Mr. Field’s specific call was to provide help for people who have tangible needs. Mr. Field calls this relief work and release work, “Helping people get on their feet and then helping them meet Christ and learn their true purpose.” The Fields have found that it is necessary to work with people holistically as they minister in the urban setting.

Listen as Mr. Field shares from his heart:

“We have found that it is really difficult to understand the gospel if you are hungry. We try to care for people before trying to ‘enlist’ them. We try to be genuine, and our witnessing is long term. We want to walk with the people into discipleship after they have initially accepted Christ.”

Thank You!

Have you ever saved an empty paper-towel tube from your workplace, or asked others to save empty paper-towel tubes for you? Can you carry on a complete conversation about the characters in the latest animated children’s movie? Do you keep liquid starch with your preschool art supplies instead of your laundry supplies? Do you save even the smallest scraps of paper or ribbon for your collage box? Have you ever melted stray crayon pieces together to make chunky crayons? Do you find yourself cleaning out your empty yogurt cups because you can use them as paint containers? Do you use your muffin tins, not for making muffins, but as a great sorting tray for preschoolers?

Get the Big Picture of Missions

“Why I Am a Baptist” was the title of a great sermon I heard years ago. In addition to a clear presentation on Baptist beliefs, the minister articulated an additional reason I have come to appreciate more with every passing year. The way we cooperate to accomplish missions efforts around our nation and world is distinctive of what it means to be Southern Baptist. From how we appoint and support missionaries to the plan for shared giving through the Cooperative Program, what we do together through our churches extends our reach further than if we tried to do it alone.

Missional Engagement for All Ages

Becoming lifelong learners is an important quality among today’s missional leaders. Mindful of the various ways people learn, we strive to create an environment at WMU where staff members are encouraged to read and explore new ways to catch the attention of each new generation to raise the priority of missions in our churches.

Recent business journals have been carrying information about the growing reality of four generations now working side by side in the workplace. In addition, the possibility of a fifth generation is coming soon if the retirement age continues to be extended. At WMU, we recognize the advantage we have of reaching all ages since this describes the breakdown of our employees—four generations presently employed at WMU. We are positioned well for collaboration as we seek to create relevant approaches that fit the makeup of today’s church.

Recently we had a presentation for staff on the various characteristics of generations; it reminded us not only of generational preferences and learning styles but also of the need to create entry points appropriate to each generation.

Waiting for an Invitation

This month, both state and national WMU staff are gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a time of leadership development and missions training. The Western Regional Leadership Summit is the result of months of praying and thinking together about ways to increase missions awareness and involvement in churches in our western states. We are grateful for the support of Del Norte Baptist Church, New Mexico WMU, and convention staff and volunteers who so willingly agreed to host this first unique gathering of western missions leaders. I hope you are planning to join us!

Together We Make a Difference

January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Every day, countless numbers of girls are trapped into a life of slavery either by force, by fraud, or with a promise of a better life that never comes. WMU has focused attention on this issue for several years through Project HELP and WorldCrafts in hopes of creating avenues of awareness and prevention. Many local and state WMU organizations have risen to the challenge and are doing incredible things to rid our society of this tragedy. You are to be commended for all your efforts.

I Can’t Do It All

How many times do we try to do it all when we take on a leadership role? One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I can’t do it all. So if I can’t do it all, what can I do to accomplish what I would like to as a leader?

Delegate. When I ask others to serve with me or give them a portion of an assignment, it frees me up to focus on other parts of my leadership role. The most important thing is when I give someone else a responsibility I have to leave it with her and trust her to do it. I have to show the person that I believe in her and her way of doing it. If I go back and try to fix what she did or take the task back once I’ve delegated it, then I have failed. That shows I really did not want to delegate at all. Saying I’m going to delegate and then actually doing it and assigning someone the task is not always easy but something I’ve learned over the years. And it’s perfectly okay if she doesn’t do it exactly the way I would do it!

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