Children need the particular, the unique. They need favorite colors and special flavors and textured experiences. This is where mass responses can trip us up because God didn’t create one size fits all. God created the particular. The dictionary defines particular to mean “of or pertaining to a single or specific person, thing, group, class, occasion, etc., rather than to others or all; special rather than general.” I think it is in the particular interests that we often meet God or bump up against the whispers of our calling. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit in recent days. I had a conversation with a young man who spent much of his childhood in television studios. His experiences in and around broadcasting have resulted in amazing work that is impacting the Kingdom. I’m reading again one of my favorite books, The Echo Within by Robert Benson, and here again we see this theme.
Walking with my father toward the old Benson building, I am headed to the place where one day I will begin to hear my calling. As much as anywhere, this is the place where I took my first steps toward trying to become the person I was spoken into being to become. All of the roads I have traveled since began in that place.
I am headed that day toward Eden in a way, if Eden can be the name for a place where all things begin, a place where our journey starts. This is certainly the place where my journey in the direction of my calling began.
Our Edens are not the same. And I do not know what yours was like, that place where your journey began. But I do know there were things in the place you began – sights and sounds and smells and rituals and work – that have played some part in your sense of your calling and in the work you do each day. Some of them drew you toward something; some of them may have pushed you away.
Eden has always smelled like paper and ink to me.
I can put my nose in a book and close my eyes and draw in a deep breath, and a whole world comes back to me. It is a world of printing presses and bindery machines, of dust an paper, of skids piled high with boxes of books, a world of forklifts hauling to and fro, of tape machines an page trimmers, of oily rags and engraving acid. I went through those doors once when I was young and entered the world of books, a world that has been drawing me ever since. Robert Benson, The Echo Within
One of the aspects I love the most about care for children that is based in local families and local churches is this sense of the particular. We no longer think in mass, as in all the eight year olds, or all the adolescents. We think in the particular. This girl. This family. This neighborhood.
Particular callings. Particular solutions. Zooming in the lens and staying away from the panoramic view. I tend to be a big picture person, but in this realm, the particular compels me. As a mother of three amazing boys, each day I am reminded that they are individuals and need care that is particular to who they are.
So much to consider here.
Note – This post is part of a broader “Children Need……” series of posts that we’ve collected over the years. Enjoy!