Sometimes, I hear from adults that “kids need to be kept busy so they won’t get into trouble”. In some ways, it’s true. If a child is focused with a task (hopefully one they enjoy) like crafts or sports, they will likely get into less trouble. That’s why some parents involve their kids in sports or arts, or why some children and youth ministries try to think of different things to do.

Yet I find this standard very disturbing. Activities are then seen as a means of avoiding trouble, but doesn’t orient towards a purpose. It seems that when someone makes that statement, it’s because they primarily don’t have to see kids get in trouble like drugs, crime, etc. But I believe that premise is off-base. The reason why kids many times get into trouble is not just because they’re bored, but because they don’t have a purpose or see a life-giving reason to devote themselves to. Frankly, in my opinion, devoting yourself to something like sports, while it is a healthy activity and beneficial in many ways, is a weak end goal. Even in church ministries, our aim sometimes is pretty low i.e. to keep them busy or away from trouble. Yet shouldn’t we be aspiring them to a greater sense of call that God is drawing them towards? That’s why, in all our planning, it needs to be more than just “keeping them busy”. Rather, it is our aim to move them to the life-changing call Jesus has invited them into, and that all we do needs to meet that end goal.