“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Have you noticed how often some children use the word “whatever?” Some children seem to have it as a favorite word. Sometimes the word is used because a child may have given up on getting his/her desires. Often, however, it is an indication that the child really has no strong feelings one way or another. It may be an indication that the child is a follower, not a leader. Bossy children often become leaders. “Whatever” kids often become followers.
It is amazing how God created a balance of personalities among people. We can’t all be leaders. Unless there are followers, there cannot be leaders. Just as we use certain techniques in working with leaders, we need to be aware of what to do with the followers. Knowing their characteristics and tendencies helps. We need to know how to work with “whatever” kids to their advantage and the advantage of their place in society.
“Whatever” kids are often the Barnabas of the family. They are the peacemakers when their siblings are quarreling. As a young child, they are the obedient child that every parent likes. They often entertain themselves and cause little trouble. Many times they are the middle child who has learned to get along with the older and younger siblings and may grow up being diplomatic as a result. A caution, however, is that these same children may tend to follow their peers as they grow older. They may have a tendency to do whatever peers may tell them to do just to get along with them. “Following the wrong crowd” may be a problem.
How are parents and teachers to deal with “whatever” kids? One way is to make sure when they are young that they learn to follow teachings in the Bible. Another way is to use wisdom in placing these children in situations where they will make friends who will be a positive influence. Since these children are so likable, it is tempting to put them in leadership positions. It may work in some cases, but often they will listen to the people they are supposed to be leading and follow them rather than really lead. Also, parents need to be careful not to neglect these children. My mom used to say, “We grease the wheel that squeaks the loudest”. “Whatever” kids often don’t complain; therefore, we may tend to forget to give them attention.
We are all familiar with the phrase, “It takes all kinds!” God is aware of this fact as he continues to create children of all kinds. There are leaders, followers, fun lovers, and serious folks. God has a plan for each person. It takes much wisdom to work with children to help them find God’s place for them in society. Even though we are born with tendencies, some change may be necessary to cope with situations we are required to face. We would be mistaken to categorize children to the point that we don’t allow change in personalities. Prayer and God-given wisdom will guide us.