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To Coddle or Nudge Hurting Students

I’ve been working with a few hurting students lately. While my nature is to nurture and comfort, I’ve found myself going against that temptation for their well-being.

Coddling has its place:
– During the crisis or immediate aftermath
– When reliving the event because of something that triggered the memory

Coddling can be harmful:
– It puts a student in a protective cocoon that prevents them from moving forward
– It can create a victim mentality in a student who gets comforted with every outburst or emotional breakdown

Nudging leads to health:
– When we nudge them toward forgiveness, they are freed from bitterness
– When we nudge them toward a new perspective, they learn to think strategically, rationally and objectively
– When we nudge them toward healthy goals, we help them see life as more than the moment they’re in – this gives them hope and determination
– When we nudge them toward biblical concepts, they (eventually) see how God can be glorified and others helped through their pain

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Dennis Beckner has served in youth ministry leadership for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA since 1999. Dennis is a contributor and speaker to youth training events, writing projects and other engagements. Contact him at his blog, VolunteerYouthMinistry.com.