I can’t believe that this is the last week of April! Where has the month gone? I hope the Monday Minutes articles have been a help to you this month. I definitely can’t claim to have it all together in raising children. I hope you haven’t gleaned that from my posts. These are things I am learning as much as sharing with you all.
One thing I have felt very strongly about for a few years is helping children to really KNOW God’s presence. I was a teacher in a Christian school for two years and I often struggled in my classroom with getting that across to my students. I didn’t understand that when I was their age. God wasn’t a real Person. Church and “worship” were just things we did every week. I would never have thought of missing Sunday services but I couldn’t have told you why it was so important.
And, to be fair, I still go through times when the presence of God is hard to find. Knowing God as a “real” person is vital to having a relationship with Him, though. You can’t have a relationship with an inanimate object. We don’t have relationships with teddy bears and toy trucks.
It’s fine to teach your child to have devotions, but are we teaching them what the purpose is?
What do we hope to gain by spending time in God’s word?
I want my child to understand who God is. My son is under age 2 so I don’t sit him down and read him the Bible, although I know people who do. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you do.
1. I like my son, at this age, to see me reading my Bible in the mornings. He knows that if he wakes up early he has to go back to bed if mommy is reading her Bible. That’s my quiet time. He can’t sit still long enough for me to spend time with God so he spends that time in his room. I can’t have him running around out in the main living area because it distracts me from having my full attention on God’s Word (and when we’re developing a relationship with someone we want to give them our full attention).
I still have memories of coming downstairs in the mornings to see my mom reading her Bible (and we knew better then to talk to her when she was doing that). And, can I say, my mom has never wavered from that early morning quiet time in my 30 years! Even now when I go home for visits she still gets up and reads her Bible first thing. (She is truly a Proverbs 31 example for me!)
2. Talk to him about God as a real Person. “Look at the beautiful, sunny day God gave us today.” “God is making our tomato plants to grow!”, etc. Right now we are trying to teach Little Man to sit quietly in church (not an easy feat for an active almost-2-yr old). When he starts to get antsy I tell him that we need to be quiet because we are learning about God (and, no, I don’t make him sit through the sermon, lol…he does go in the nursery for that part).
3. Sing church songs to him. Children learn a lot through song. “Jesus Loves Me” “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, etc…these help small children understand simple things about God.
4. Play videos of Bible stories/doctrine. I blogged about the video series Theo Presents on Friday and the more I watch it, the more I love it! (make sure to enter the Giveaway here) *Disclaimer: I don’t think we should totally rely on tv to teach our children about God, but sometimes they can help us in our own teaching sessions. It does such a good job of teaching simple Bible doctrine to children. AND, the home edition comes with ideas for daily devotions. Right now we’re watching the episode Light Unto My Path about God’s Word. Soooo good, and soooo practical, telling children why the Bible is important. And, yes, my Little Man is glued to the TV. Does he understand it all? Probably not yet, but he’s taking it in. And eventually he’ll start to grasp what it’s saying. This leads in to my next point, too.
5. Teach the importance of the Bible. My Bible is about the only book that Little Man is not allowed to touch. He LOVES books and he has his own Bible story book that we are currently treating as his Bible. But I want him to understand that the Bible is a very special book because it is God speaking to us. We don’t rip pages or colour all over them (not that he’s allowed to do that with other books, but you get what I’m saying).
6. Pray out loud to God. I’ve heard/read some great teaching on prayer and all sources seem to agree that when you struggle with having a time set aside for prayer, spend your day praying! This is how I like to pray. Because, inevitably God sends something into my mind randomly throughout the day and if I wait until that one “set-aside-time” to pray for it, I’ll forget. So, when I’m thankful that I have a clear road to pull out of my driveway onto (our street is a nightmare!) I thank Him out loud. This is one way our children can see God as real…because you generally talk to “real” people, lol.
There are so many things we can do to let our children know that God is real. But the MOST important thing is for them to see us treating God as real. If they don’t see the reality of God in our lives, it’s not going to be a reality in their lives, either.
And, let me say here before I close. I talked about seeing my mom reading her Bible and I don’t want you all to think my dad was a horrible Christian. He was usually gone to work before we got up in the mornings, but I can tell you that the evidence of his relationship with Christ was clear: his Bible open on the sofa, etc. Today, as an adult, I can see the spiritual growth in my dad and I KNOW he has an amazing relationship with my Saviour. I can only hope that one day my children see the same in me!
I heard somewhere that it is poetry month, so, if you come back tomorrow I’ll share with you all a poem I wrote about my parents and their relationship with God.
Happy Monday All!