As your children enter their teen years, you may begin to feel a sense of urgency in your parenting. You only have a few years remaining when you will see your child daily and have hours a day to help build their spiritual foundation. By your child’s senior year of high school, even the most proactive Christian parent can feel a sense of panic. What have you forgotten to teach? What more do you need to say?
There is a way though to create a special gift that will be a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder for your child of the spiritual truths that were so important to you – the ones you pray are also a part of who they are and who they will become. The great thing is you can put your own special touches on it that will also reflect your love for your child and the value you place on your relationship.
Find a wide margin bible. Pick a translation your child prefers if possible. There aren’t as many options as in a “regular” Bible, but the wider margins make the project a lot easier. Search carefully for the correct ink pen. Many bleed through thin Bible paper too easily making it harder to read what is written. You can experiment on a piece of tissue paper. You may also want to gather favorite Christian books, sermon notes or places where you have scribbled thoughts or favorite scriptures.
Then take your time. Start the project at least a year before you want to give the present. Write things in the margins next to various scriptures. You may choose family memories – “This was your great-grandpa’s favorite verse. He quoted it constantly.” Or personal reflections – “This verse reminds me of you. You really know how to live it out in your life.” Maybe, it’s some nugget gathered from a sermon or book. “The original word for God in this verse means God- the Creator. ” Or even godly dreams, but be careful with that one as it can backfire if it is seen as manipulative by your child. “I pray you will always feel about your faith the way Joshua felt about his in this verse.”
Yes, this present takes a lot of time and effort. The most special of presents, like handmade quilts by great-grandma, often do. It will most likely be treasured though and may even eventually be passed on to future generations of your descendants whom you will never meet. It may be your way of touching your family spiritually long after you are gone.