Thomas McDonald

Thomas McDonald

Youth Pastor Melbourne City

A few years ago, with a bit of time on my hands, I started to get into running longer distances. I signed up to a half marathon and got stuck into training. I grew up doing track and field so knew what the importance of warming up, cooling down, and everything in between. I thought the way to train was simply to run further, for longer, and more times in a week. I was sadly mistaken.

The next few months I learned many things, mostly by trial and error or injury. You probably are rather confused as to what all this has to do with a yr6 transitioning into youth and high school. However, I hope that some of my learnings can help you.

God made us as humans to be highly adaptable; mentally and physically. However, if we do too much too quickly we cannot adapt. In running there is a rule of not increasing training by more than 10% each week to avoid injuries like stress fractures. The incremental additions over time allow us to adapt to the new stimulus and get stronger.

The Bible often talks about the process of change. Sometimes it’s instant, sometimes it is done over time but often it’s a combination of the two. Romans 12:2 talks about the renewal of the mind, which could actually be translated as the constant or continual renewal. It’s an incremental process. We have the mind of Christ but are also continually renewing our minds to be the mind of Christ. It’s both!

During transitional periods, don’t do too much too quickly. Add things bit by bit to allow for mind, body, and spirit to adapt. This is why we transition yr6s into Neuma Youth in Term 4 so that by the time they hit high school it is one less thing to worry about. Over time, things will become more comfortable and settle as you incrementally adapt to the new.

The second thing I found out about running was that you need specific shoes. I was running in my old cross trainers that had absolutely no cushioning so no wonder I had knee problems! When I went to get new ones, I was fitted for my natural running style. The shoes were selected to fit me in order to minimise injuries.

There’s a specificity for each and every one of us. Of course there are principles that help and guide – most shoes have lots of similarities. However, we are created unique and so have individual needs.

Proverbs 22:6 talks about this.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This isn’t about raising children as Christians and they’ll be set for life but rather about finding the natural wiring or bent of the child and raising them according to that. Just as the shoe was fitted to my natural gait, so too does the raising of a child need to fit the natural wiring of that child. And though the principles might remain the same, each and every season will require something different.

Galatians 5:25
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 

This is where the most important part of transition comes – prayer. We can only know what to do when we seek Him. For many, you haven’t been this way before and if you have this will be different again with a new child.

Know this, you are not alone in this process. As you pray for your child, there will be Neuma Youth leaders praying also. They’ll be seeking Him to know how best to train, equip, and raise them up in Christ.

I pray that this is helpful and encouraging.