The Cheerios Moment

Rob Hoskins, OneHope President

It seems like I blinked and one second Kim and I were driving our girls home from the hospital starting our family, and the next we were walking them down the aisle as they started theirs.

While the newborn stage was great, Kim and I find some of our fondest memories come from the toddler phase of our girls’ lives. We celebrated when each one figured out how to sit up then start scooting around. The angels rejoiced when we sprinkled their highchair trays with little round O’s and the girls figured out how to get them into their own mouths.

“Look! She did it! She’s feeding herself! Look how happy she is–she’s so proud of herself! We’re killing this parenting thing!” *high five*

 

Feeding themselves

Left – Natasha Hoskins, Kim Hoskins, Rob Hoskins and Diandra Hoskins Right – Rob Hoskins, Diandra Tubergen, Natasha Haner and Kim Hoskins

I promise you – parents, youth workers and leaders today celebrate this same “Cheerios moment” in the spiritual development of their children and youth. It is extraordinary to watch a child awaken to the wonder of the goodness of God, be drawn to the truth found in His Word and, then, begin to feed themselves.

With the impact of the Internet and rapid innovations in technology, these Cheerios moments are happening at younger ages – sometimes before a child is ready to digest the information the world is hurling at them.

Ninety-five percent of all teens ages 12 – 17 are online. [1]

Today’s teens had phones when they were in elementary or middle school, compared to high school or college for their older counterparts. That shift is already shaping behaviors.

Two in three teens make purchases online, and of those, more than half are making purchases on their phones. [2]

Having nearly 24/7 access to the Internet at their fingertips is forcing younger children to grapple with realities, even spiritual realities, which traditionally people our age didn’t encounter until later in life.

 

Providing nourishing truth

Having such unrestrained access to information at such a young age is forcing today’s youth to not only wrestle with post-adolescent topics, but to self-theologize — and at younger ages than any other time in history. That’s why OneHope has partnered to develop impactful digital Scripture engagement tools, such as the Bible App for Kids. This powerful tool enables that “Cheerios moment”—where children as young as one year old can listen, interact, and engage with God’s Word on their own.

Culture is loud and pervasive—seeking to capture the hearts and minds of our young people as early as possible. Even if parents do their best to limit screen time, check their children’s phones, and utilize in-app parent controls, our children still have access to more information than they are prepared to understand and process on their own. This is why we need to provide our little ones with access to nourishing truth at a young age, whether that be through an app or off-line, that will encourage them to seek this same kind of life-giving information online as soon as they are able to navigate on their own. If you’ve ever seen a small child navigate a smartphone or tablet, trust me, they are able!

Culture is loud and pervasive – we need to capture the hearts and minds of our young people early.

One of the most humbling stories of a “Cheerios Moment” I heard recently was about a little three-year-old boy named Evan. When asked what he wanted on his birthday cake, he didn’t ask for his favorite TV show, sport, or Spider-Man — he asked for his birthday cake to be the Bible App for Kids.

Making Jesus a child’s hero during the critical “Cheerios Moment” phase helps determine who they will worship the rest of their lives.

 

Rob is President of OneHope and Chairman of the board at Oral Roberts University (ORU). His innovative Outcome Based Ministry model and training has helped thousands of global ministries shift their paradigm and begin incorporating best practices that dramatically increase their effectiveness.

 

[1] Youth Ministry Media [2] Gen Z: A look inside its mobile-first mindset

 

 

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One Response to “The Cheerios Moment”

  1. Ginger Loomis

    Thanks, Rob, for this ‘update’ and article! It’s good to see your girls again. Please tell Mrs. Loomis says hello!

    Reply

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