When your children are very young, you tend to worry about interesting things. I have seen mothers absolutely obsessed with potty training or taking away a binky from a toddler who is still sucking on it for comfort. Don’t even get me started on night lights, thumb sucking and teddy bears. (Especially since I still own my Super Bear!)
We spend so much time and effort worrying, reading up on how to potty train or wean our child from a comfort item. We fret, talk to other moms and even pray. I will never forget what an older mom once told me. Our daughter had never needed a night light. A death of a favorite aunt in preschool made her suddenly begin to request light in her room at night.
As I fretted over what seemed like a step backward, the more experienced mom looked at me and said “Don’t worry, she will stop when she’s ready. I’ve never seen a kid in college with a night light.” Now granted, I am sure there actually are some kids with night lights in college, but she was right. In our case a little time and distance from the upsetting event and our daughter asked us to remove the light at night.
What is sad is that often we waste a lot of our valuable parenting time and effort on things that will eventually happen quickly and easily at the time that is right for your child. In the meantime, we aren’t spending time on training our children to be godly. We put more effort in early potty training than we do in teaching them God’s Words. We are more concerned about the binky than whether our children’s hearts are learning to love God, worship Him and keep His commands. We worry more about getting rid of that night light than about how to teach our kids to be the light of the world God calls us to be – with a passion for serving others and sharing their faith.
The next time you find yourself worrying about a normal rite of passage, take a small step back. Is this something your child may learn to do or do without in a day or two a few months or years from now, while it is taking most of your time and effort daily to teach it at this younger age? Surprisingly to many, the preschool years are some of the most important ones for setting your child’s heart towards God. Make sure you are giving that eternal task the time and effort it really deserves.