Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Mistakes I’ve Made No. 4

One area where I struggle, is remembering people’s names. You know that when someone walks up to you in church and says “Hi Brother!” or “Hi Sister!”, then chances are they don’t know your name 🙂

A few years ago when I was helping in Sparks, there was a new girl who had attended and I was determined to call her by name. So the second week she came, I intentionally called her by name. So when I saw her, I intentionally began calling her by name – we’ll say Elizabeth. I intentionally called her by name for about 5 – 10 minutes until we began to head out to large group time. At that point she asked me, “Why are you calling me Elizabeth? My name is…”

Boy, was I embarrassed!

Now I am in a larger club with a lot of children I am meeting for the first time. I am still learning names, but now, I am intentional to ask them what their name is, even if it is every week, until I know that I know it and then I intentionally try to use it.

So learn the names of the children in your sphere of influence, their proper names, and use them. It will re-enforce to the child that you care about them.

The Author


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  1. Ouch! That connected with me, Bill. The older I get the better my forgetter works!!
    But it is so true that kids (indeed anyone!) love to hear their name on someone else’s lips, and not with a snarl or a put-down, but with a welcome and affection.

    I know there are wee memory tricks to help us remember names, but in addition, we need to be determined to learn them, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help our failing memories, and we need to repeatedly use the kids’ names, so they sink in.

    At the end of the day children know when they are loved, and won’t mind if we make mistakes. So we can get by with “Sweetie”, “dude” or, here in Scotland, “hen” (Yes! And in some parts of England the affectionate generic name is “duck”!)

  2. I always cover that up with, “I know, your name is XXXXX (a goofy name). They tell me “no, it’s XXXX.” Then I say again,” no, it’s XXXXX!” That usually gets them laughing and after they repeatadly tell me their name, it helps me learn it for real.

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