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Growing Our Leadership Garden

“I get to choose how I respond.” This is what Hugh the young sheep in the story learned in chapter 2~Planting A Leadership Garden (From the book U.N.I.Q.U. Kids, Growing My Leadership Garden).
Leadership Garden
The key words that the kids and I focused on were:
Choice/Choose: Choice gives us the ability to choose how we react to our automatic emotional conditioning and  accept things that we can’t change. We can choose to focus on the pleasant events of our life and not have the unpleasant ones dictate a negative response.

Path:  Path was not a word from the book but one I chose to give more of a biblical application. Hugh said something like, we choose our own reality and I thought of path. Our choices lead us down certain paths in our lives. I want our Leadership Garden to grow for Christ. Another thing that the word path (reality) brought to mind was we can choose a path of righteousness or destruction.
We learned that a picture, event, smell, etc. might remind us of an experience from the past (automatic emotional conditioning) but how we react and respond to them (automatic emotional reactions) is a choice.  We can respond in a negative way or positive.

An example I gave the children. Let’s say a word triggered a memory that wasn’t so pleasant. Maybe a sibling called you a name or said something that hurt your feelings.  You can choose how to react to that memory. You can choose to get upset all over again and be mad at them, even though it happened last week, month, or year ago. Or you can choose to forgive and be kind. Don’t let that memory provoke a negative response.

Some memories are not good for our Leadership Garden. They can cause us to make poor choices and need to be weeded out of our garden. 
Plant positive thoughts, positive feeling, and positive behaviors.  Again I referred back to the fruit of the Spirit. We want to plant love, peace, joy, self control, etc.
Planting our Leadership Garden
To help the children understand this there is an activity that all children will enjoy.  It involves eating a cookie.

I gave each of the children a homemade (by Josh and Caleb) chocolate chip cookie.  I told them to use all of their senses. To look, touch, smell, taste and listen to how the cookie sounds while eating it.

Two of the questions I asked was what memories did it trigger or what feeling did it bring?  Some answers were, it reminded me of watching a movie (the children love to save their snacks for our Friday night movie).  For others it was comfort. Lance made us laugh.  He said the hard chocolate chips reminded him of the time he got hit on the head with a ball. 

In conclusion our ‘homework’ for this week: when seeds from our senses bring good or bad memories from the past back,  choose how you will react or respond with that memory. I challenged them to respond in a positive way. They can choose which path to go down.  The path that leads to what God wants for us or a path that is negative and will hinder our relationship with God and others. It’s their CHOICE.

Proverbs 3:6 - In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 23:3 - He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

 FYI: I added biblical applications. Ours is a Leadership Garden for Christ. 

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