Monday, May 10, 2010
Our main job.
If you've been reading this blog very long at all, you know that manners are primo in my parenting agenda. If you haven't gathered that by now... You must've been reading another blog.
But higher up on my list of priorities is raising my children with a high awareness of God.
You might be reading this and immediately feel defeated. You might see this as a failure, or another thing to add to your already too long "to-do" list.
Don't. This is one of the most basic things we can teach our children. Because after all... His fingerprints are all over the world around us, all the time.
Sadly, as parents, we are so busy getting everyone from place to place, fed, clothed, and cleaned, that we left God at home when we rushed out the door that morning. Romans 1:20 is one of my favorite verses. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
This basically means that everywhere we go, there is an object lesson of God's creative power and love somewhere around us. It is our job as parents to bring those examples to life for our little ones. Can I give you a few examples of how easy this is?
You know that tree you pass all the time in the Spring? You know... the one you always quietly admire? Well, tomorrow when the kids are in the car and you drive by it, say this. "God sure was thoughtful to make that tree so beautifully and put it right here where I pass it everyday." Move on.
When you get to the mall, and the golden parking spot opens up for you right as you pull up to the front of the parking lot, say, "Thanks, God. You knew my legs were tired today." Move on.
When you sit down to eat, say, "I'm so glad that God gave farmers ideas on how to grow this food so we don't have to eat grass!" Or, "Wouldn't it be boring if everything tasted like broccoli? God sure is creative!" Move on.
When you see two puppies playing, say, "God has such a sense of humor, to create puppies to play so cutely like that!" Move on.
You get the drift. If you incorporate Him in your every day, He becomes a part of THEIR every day. Rod and I have been very deliberate about pointing out God in our daily lives in front of Abi, so she is always aware of His presence and concern in HER day to day.
And the payoff has been HUGE.
The other day, I walked into the kitchen while Abi was writing, and I saw her with her arms stretched out, face upward, and heard her whisper, "You know I love you this much, right God? Well, I do!"
A month ago, we were on a field trip with her. She was on the bus in the seat in front of me. With her bff sitting beside her, she turns to me and says, "MOM! I just heard God talk to me!" I said, "That is GREAT! What did he say?" Abi said, "He said, 'You sure are a good girl... and I am good all the time!"
Recently, I heard Abi say, "Daddy, why did God make us to poop?" Of course, Rod used it to explain how God created our bodies to take care of themselves.
A week ago, I pull into the garage at home, and Abi says, "Mom, the Lord has done BIG things for us!" I said, "Yes. He has. Thank you for the reminder."
A couple of years ago, Abi asked me on the way home from church, "What do I have to do to go to Heaven?" As a result, I led my four year old daughter to Jesus in the van, driving through Tavares.
We taught Abi that when she is hurt, sick, or injured in any way, we pray FIRST. I love knowing this has been instilled in her because when she's at her public school, and she can't get to me and can't get to Tylenol, she has the Healer to turn to FIRST. When she broke her arm, we prayed FIRST. When she falls down, we pray FIRST. When her heart is broken, we pray FIRST. So, the other day, her tummy was hurting, and we were at a restaurant. She asked me to take her to the bathoom. I did. And the minute we got into the stall, she said, "Please put your hand on my tummy and pray for me before I use the bathroom." Of course, I did.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't always represent Him correctly to her. I don't always point Him out. I don't always show her who He is. But it is something I am always aware of, this need for her to see Him in our every day life.
This child has literally grown up in church. By that, I mean until she started kindergarten, she spent the majority of her days (Sundays through Wednesdays at least) IN the building, in my office, roaming the halls... she's at every meeting, every service, and then some. But, hold on to your hats... She has learned WAY more about God outside the church walls than inside them.
It's not the church's job to completely educate my daughter about God's love for her. That's MY job. All through Proverbs, we see Solomon talk of how he learned about God at his mother's breast, or at her knee. Not in the temple, and not from ancient scrolls. I am not taking away from those things, believe me. Church attendance is NOT OPTIONAL for my kids.
But church is a tool to enhance what they are learning from ME. It is not their sole source of Godly exposure.
So, Moms and Dads, how much of Him are you incorporating into your daily life? It may feel awkward at first, but give it a try. Voice your appreciation of Him to your kids. Soon it will be on their lips as well.
It's music to this mama's heart.