An “Unofficial” Kid Study

The other night our company participated in a community fair (which I also wrote about last time). We kept it pretty simple with just a few brochures and portfolios and then filled the table with bins of different types of treats. To the left side of the table was a big spinning wheel (like a small “wheel of fortune”) that was labeled with all of the items on the table.

There is just something about spinning a wheel to see what you get. Even some adults were drawn to spinning the wheel at our encouragement. But, mostly, it was kids.

Toddlers and big kids, shy kids and bold kids, poor kids, rich kids, happy kids, quiet kids. Kids with the light of a good life in their eyes. Kids who were already knee deep in the struggles of life. But for a few minutes all of that was put aside as they’d tug at that wheel.

I enjoyed observing them and started doing my own unofficial “kid study”. As the evening wore on, I was able to break them down into a few different types–

The Shy Kid–The boy or girl who had to be pulled by the arm towards the wheel or cajoled by a parent or sibling in order to be brave enough to spin the wheel.

The Greedy Kid–The kid (many of them) who came back over and over until we had to tell them {very politely} that it would be nice to give someone else a turn.

The Embarrassed Kid–These are the ones that were just on the cusp of being an adult and felt like they should be too old to enjoy something like this–but they just couldn’t resist.

The Manipulative Kid–This is the one that would try to manipulate the wheel to the item of their choice. I only saw this once and he was also a greedy kid–trying to come back over and over to get what he wanted until, finally, with the last spin, he just moved the wheel to what he wanted. I pretended I didn’t see.

The Happy Kid–These are the ones that were just having a good time. It didn’t matter what the wheel landed on, they were happy about it.

The Discontented Kid–These are the ones that were never happy with what the wheel landed on. Sometimes they’d even lie and say they couldn’t have such and such kind of candy but they could have this other. What gave them away was that both kinds they’d mention had the same ingredients (dyes, sugar, etc) so it wouldn’t make any sense at all. But we’d just laugh and give them what they wanted.

The Charismatic Kid–The one that would lead all his friends to the wheel.

All of these kids had one thing in common–they were sinners. They had all different types of personalities and traits and life experiences, but they are all sinners. Just like we all are.

Isn’t it so interesting that we can see those same types of kids in the adults around us? We never really outgrow our personalities.

We have the shy and embarrassed ones–the ones who are so concerned about how they will look (selfishness) that they won’t step out in faith and do what they should. We have the greedy ones that are always looking for a deal, always searching for a way to get ahead or to get rich quick. We have the discontented–oh so many of the discontented–no matter how much they have it is never enough. And the manipulative ones–the ones using people and stepping on them to their own advantage. And the happy ones. The only thing we realize about the happy ones as we become adults is that it is often a cover for a lot of pain and hurt underneath. Not always, of course, but often.

These things don’t go away just because we become adults. Our challenge is to take our natural bents and personality traits and to use them for good and not evil. To eradicate the sin and to maximize the gifts God has given us.

This isn’t always, easy, for certain, but it’s one of our most important assignments, as believers. Think about how many people turn away from the Gospel each year because of these two things–

1. Christians living in their sin and not turning away from it (hypocrites)


2. Sinners who claim Christ but are probably not saved because they have zero fruit (liars)

There is nothing to turn people away from the Gospel more than hypocrites and liars. And how do we keep from becoming one of those? We stop pretending like we are perfect and acknowledge we are sinners–

not broken, not sick, not diseased

but downright, ugly, hopeless, lost


And then, with that recognition, we recognize Christ’s sacrifice for us. That we cannot be saved without Him. That reconciliation with God is utterly hopeless unless Christ’s takes our sin on Himself, presenting us spotless before God.

And then we start our journey of sanctification and holiness–a never-ending task. Difficult but not unpleasant. God changes our hearts so we want what He wants. His commands are not arduous and distasteful to follow, for we are changed. Sure, our flesh cries out in dismay at the rules and we long for things we can’t have sometimes but we recognize that for what it is. We can see the bigger picture and we know that God has our best interests in mind. Our hearts long to serve Him. And, along the way, we strive to give God the glory in our victories. It is Him working through us that brings change and transformation.

Let’s be honest. Kids are cute. And we find things like a little boy turning the wheel to get what he wants quite humorous. But it isn’t so funny in an adult. What is cute for a kid is often distasteful or even downright ugly in an adult. It is important that we grow up and out of those sins that would beset us so that we can shine the bright (and rare) light of an authentic, Christian testimony in this world.



4 thoughts on “An “Unofficial” Kid Study”

  1. You have rightly written about kids growing up to be big kids.

    It is indeed a sobering thought that our personalities and character dispositions are set in the early years of life. Having said that, it is very encouraging that God’s grace is sufficient for us all. I have a friend whose learned behavior and dispositions have been hard to set aside since his conversion at age 67. Clearly, he is a different person, but like the rest of us, is a work in process. These behaviors, habits, and attitudes have the propensity to be blind spots. My personal struggle is helping my friend recognize some of those rough edges and blind spots. So I pray. I pray asking the Holy Spirit to break through those blind spots in his heart.

    Blessings and keep the good words coming.

    1. Thank you! Bad habits seems so much harder to break as we get older. I can imagine that your friend, along with others who are saved in their 60s and 70s, face challenges that young people don’t face. But God can change us all, no matter what our age. Your friend is blessed to have you and maybe that is one of God’s extra graces in his life to help him along. :)

  2. You are so right about how we can choose to use our God given personality traits for sin or good. I’m shy and can use that as an excuse not to do things that I should do but I can also use my shyness for good too – like in a busy kids holiday club when one or two quiet children seem drawn to me, escaping some of the noise and action.

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