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.
Learning about God and understanding His words sometimes means trying to understand some abstract topics. I think one of the reasons parents shy away from teaching their children more Bible at home is the fear of trying to explain concepts like eternity when we don’t totally understand them ourselves.
While I believe it is probably impossible for the human mind to totally grasp some of these concepts, there are ways to help your child begin to understand them in a simple fashion. Young children tend to think only in concrete terms. This means they can understand things better when they can use their senses to examine them. That is why for a small child “love” might mean hugs and kisses. It is also why young children often say “I hate you” when they really mean they are very angry with you. To them anger and hate look alike.
I grew up in a musical family. We all played several instruments and would try to play anything that might create music. Our stereos were all cranked to almost top volume and you could hear us singing along enthusiastically. All of us that is, except my father. He always claimed he played the checkbook and sang the “also” part.
In church though, my dad always sang. Our fellowship has a history of a cappella music. In most congregations, it means quite a few people have developed a good ear for music, taken voice lessons and love to sing four part harmonies. My favorite part of singing at church is that the tone deaf people will sing just as loudly and enthusiastically as the more musically inclined. I personally think God loves to hear from them just as much, if not more, than those He gifted with beautiful singing voices.
Have you ever seen one of those sitcoms when the character is trying to make a moral decision? Often he will suddenly have two figures appear on his shoulders. One is angelic in appearance, with white clothing and often wings and a halo. The other looks like we are supposed to think the devil looks, with red clothing (and a cape for some strange reason), a long red forked tail, red pointed ears and a pitchfork with prongs.
Over the years I have given in to more temptations than I would care to admit. Unfortunately, I don’t recall ever seeing this man dressed in red when faced with my choice. Maybe if I had seen him, I would have made a wiser decision. Usually Satan has disguised himself in much more creative and appealing ways.
School starts early in Georgia. Before the weather cools or the leaves begin to turn, our children are back in school. We live in a town where the parents are very involved in their children’s education. Almost all of the parents walk their children to class on the first day of school. PTA meetings are packed and home work is a high priority.
Most children in public school spend six to eight hours a day at school. We worry if they are getting taught enough to make them competitive for college admissions. We find tutors if they struggle and push them when they procrastinate. It often seems like their entire future depends on how well they do in first grade.
We just returned from a two week vacation. The first week my daughter and I stayed with a friend of mine from college. We had lots of fun doing “girlie” things and exploring an area of the country that was new to us. The second week my husband joined us for a family vacation. My daughter made a very interesting comment when my husband arrived at the house a few minutes past her bedtime. She wanted to stay up late and spend a few minutes with “both of you”.
Her comment reminded me of a story one of my friends told of her daughter when she was a toddler. My friend and her husband had been away for a couple of weeks on business. When they returned, their youngest daughter did not want to have much to do with them. After a few days she was her normal affectionate self. It finally dawned on my friend that her daughter was “angry” at her parents for being gone.