Understanding the Uniqueness of Every Child [Dan Webster – Group Kidmin Conference]

Description: Examine the key influences within a child’s process of discovering his or her uniqueness and how adults can play an active, impacting, and positive role. Assess and understand culture’s impact in kids’ self-discovery. Investigate where in the process you, as a ministry leader, need to get involved and how to guide parents to do the same with four practical actions.


The Vision and Dream for Every Kid

Every student graduates from high school with a sense that their life matters. They know they are loved by God and their parents (or care-givers). They both understand and celebrate who they are – what interests them – and what gives them life. They graduate knowing their strengths, talents and passions. These, along with the love of God and family, will act as a north-star to guide each into the future God has created them to live.

The How

  1. Every caring adult develops both the skill and grace to build a discovery-rich relationship with kids – The Four Window Model helps here.
  2. Every caring adult masters a simple process that will help the student they love find his or her way into an exciting and meaningful future – The Finding Your Way Process helps here.

The Kid Unique Four Window Model

  1. Observation (shifting from ignoring to observing)
  2. Exploration (shifting from the mess to the miracle)
  3. Affirmation (shifting from limiting to opportunity)
  4. Revelation (shifting from frustration to prayer and listening)

How Are Teenagers Doing (Today’s New Realities)

Chap Clark…Hurt 2.0

Hardwired to Connect

Rising rates of mental illness, behavioral problems and emotional distress

Chap wanted to find out what teenagers really thought and report the results

Teenagers today are hurt.

New reality

  • Alcoholism
  • Mental disorders
  • Suicide
  • Cutting

Check out the movie 13 (life of a single mother with a 13 year old).

Lack of attention from adult population.

No attention unless adults get something from them.

Parents too consumed with themselves.

Walking the Tightrope of Adolescence (Stages of the Adolescent Journey)

Kids Need:

  • love
  • direction
  • presence
  • security
  • concrete

Teenagers Need:

  • interest
  • room to fail
  • guidelines
  • opportunity
  • presence

Late Adolescents Need:

  • Belief
  • Nudge
  • Process
  • Deadline

Guilt is I feel bad, Shame is you are bad.

The Work of Adolescence

  1. Identity
  2. Autonomy
  3. Community

The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities

– Kathleen Kovner Kline (Dartmouth Medical School) & David Blankenhorn (Inst. for Family Values) & YMCA


  1. Humans are hardwired to form relationships.
  2. The presence or absence of a nurturing environment during childhood not only shapes a child’s psychological and emotional development but also alters brain development in ways that profoundly affect long-term health.
  3. Animal studies suggest that possible nurture may neutralize genetic vulnerabilities to depression and similar problems and perhaps even transform what would otherwise be genetic vulnerabilities into strengths.
  4. The nature of brain development during adolescence creates a continuing need for a nurturing environment.
  5. Human beings are biologically primed to seek moral and spiritual meaning, and nurturing relationships are a central foundation for positive moral and spiritual development.
  6. Nurturing relationships and a spiritual connection to the transcendent significantly improve physical and emotional health.

A Fully Engaged Adult

  • takes this work personally
  • learns to dribble with their head up
  • learns to separate the miracle from the mess
  • learns to manage the predictable irritations of daily life

About Dan: Dan is a practitioner and pioneer in the area of leadership and life development. He’s also the founder of Authentic Leadership, Inc. His deepest passion is to inspire people to live an extraordinary life.

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