All it took was an ice cream cone. When my son first started playing baseball, he was scared to try and hit the ball. He didn’t want to miss. So, we bribed him—and it worked! So of course, you can guess what he said after that first single: “If I get to second base next time, can I get a double scoop?” We laughed but said no. Now that he knew he could do it, the sweet sound of the ball smacking the bat and his feet kicking up dirt as he rounded the bases would be enough. And it has been.

Another time, my 20-something brother came to town and invited my son to go rock-climbing with him. My husband and I honestly didn’t think that Cale would last 30 minutes. But he surprised us—climbing for several hours, literally until his hands gave out. He far exceeded our expectations and rose to the challenge.

Reflecting on this, I think Cale was motivated by several things like the different paths—color-coded by level of difficulty—on the climbing walls. He started with the easier ones to gain some confidence. And also Cale felt safe, knowing my brother held the other end of the rope, ready to catch and lower him down if he slipped.

In the education world, this type of approach is called “scaffolding”—starting with things kids already know or have practiced and encouraging them to stretch and try something new with you as the guide by their side.

That got me thinking about what God expects from each of us in this game called life. His goal isn’t just to weigh us down with a long list of responsibilities—all the things we should do. He also paints a picture of how the world could be and shows us where He’s already at work, inviting us to join Him.

And here’s the interesting thing, when you’re responsible with a little, you tend to be given more: more opportunities, more relationships, more ways that you can use what you’ve been given.

Our series this month in 252 is called, “Great Expectations—will you win Trust?” We show that we trust God when we respond to Him with everything we have—our abilities, our stuff, our words, our time and our actions. Just imagine how the world might change if we lived out these “great expectations” and became even more trustworthy people!

Some things to think about or try:

  • Where has your kids/teens been showing signs that they are ready to be responsible, and how can you best motivate them to follow through?

  • What new serving opportunities could you and your kid/teen explore together that might be a good challenge and stretch you both in surprising ways?

  • Write down something specific that you think your kid/teen has the ability to do that would make the world a better place. See the potential in them and take time to share these positive thoughts one on one this week.