Encouraging parents in their efforts to raise their children to be enthusiastic servants of the Lord.
Author: Thereasa Winnett
Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.
One of my concerns as a Bible class teacher of little ones (and as a parent) is for the children I teach to understand the Bible as history and not as fiction. Unfortunately, there are many people in the world, even some who consider themselves religious, who would argue that the stories in the Bible are fables. To counteract the influences of people in my child’s world who may try to undermine the Bible, I have done everything I could think of to reinforce the reality of the scriptures.
One of the easiest ways to help your child understand that the Bible is about real people, places and events is to continually tell them before you read or tell them a Bible story. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I even separated Bible story time from picture book reading times to create a boundary between the two types of stories.
If you have a child under the age of two, you are probably used to conducting a running monologue for your child about everything. You tell him what you see, you ask her questions and then answer them yourself and probably thoroughly amuse bystanders on a regular basis.
Studies have shown you are doing the best thing for your child. The more words your child hears from you, the faster he will develop his own language skills. The constant exposure to your words imprints them in your child’s brain. Eventually she starts to understand those sounds have meaning and the meanings can get her something she wants more effectively than crying. (Maybe that is why my daughter learned to talk so early. I never was very skillful at deciding which cry was for what!)
Some days, as a parent, it seems as if you are in constant correction mode. I remember, during my daughter’s toddler years, there were days I must have said the word “no” at least a hundred times. As our children get older, we may say “no”less often, but we still tend to focus on their behaviors.
What if instead of focusing on our child’s behaviors, we focused on the heart of our child? I am not suggesting we should ignore inappropriate behaviors, but that we also take the time to dig a little deeper.
Last week we were watching Dave Ramsey’s town hall meeting about the economy. My daughter has become a fan of his through his homeschool finance curriculum. At one point, he made a comment that fear is actually the opposite of hope.
Or at least that is what I think I heard, because at that point a huge thunderstorm blew in from the west. The kind where you aren’t sure if it will blow a tree through your house or your roof will get struck by lightening first. The one where even your bravest child starts calling for you and her dad. Of course, the electricity also went out just at the point where the weathermen were about to tell us if it were a tornado heading straight for our house and if Dorothy really just blew by our window.
When your child is young, he is probably more interested in the bow on his present than what is in the box. Eventually, he discovers what is inside is more exciting than the wrapping (unless Martha Stewart is your aunt!). He will eagerly tear the paper to get to what is inside.
God gives everyone gifts or talents. We will teach our child how to open a birthday present, but have we taught her how to open her gifts from God? My guess is many of us still have presents from God we have yet to open. We haven’t even thought about teaching our children how to find and open their own gifts.