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.
The children in our church are learning how to be missionaries this summer. Now before you stop reading, your child doesn’t have to move to the ends of the earth and never see you to be a missionary. I am not sure when it happened, but at some point in Christian history, it seems we decided we could pay someone to do our mission work for us. Now, I am all for supporting missionaries who are willing to move to other countries and teach people about God. I just wish we all thought of ourselves as missionaries, just like the Christians in the first century did.
If you want to learn how to be a good missionary, start reading the book of Acts. It is full of stories about the first missionaries in the church. It teaches you not only the important things to tell someone about the story of Jesus, but different ways to find people to teach. It even tells you about the problems missionaries can encounter and how to handle them in a godly way.
Perhaps Hannah and other godly mothers in the Bible have been your role models for years. You have studied the Bible in your home with your child ever since you can remember. Your family is regularly involved in serving God in a variety of ways. You teach your child God’s principles and how to apply them on a daily basis. Maybe your child is already a baptized believer and is developing her own faith.
Part of dedicating your children to God is teaching them how to share God’s Words with others. If Christianity is to continue to be a living faith, then we and our children will have to really begin spreading God’s Words just like the church in the first century did. This summer, I am working with the children in our church to help them learn not only how the early church spread the Good News throughout the known world, but how they to can be missionaries now and in the future.
Have you ever passed your husband’s car in your neighborhood and paused to throw a pack of Depends from one car to the other? Does your teen’s driving practice consist of driving to the assisted living facility and home? Could you pass both the pediatrics and gerontology medical board exams without attending medical school? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you are probably a “sandwich” mom.
Even though I had my daughter relatively late in life, I figured I would escape being a “sandwich” mom – one who is simultaneously caring for children and elderly parents. My parents had married and had me at a very young age, so I assumed my daughter would be grown and I would be old myself before I had to help care for them. I neglected to factor in that my husband’s parents were almost as old as my grandparents. I will most likely have a few years where I try to balance the needs of my daughter and my in-laws.
I love the summer months. Although the new school schedules have eaten into some of those old “hazy, lazy days of summer”, we still tend to have a slightly more relaxed life. I love the idea of sleeping late, wearing flip flops and deciding between reading a book or walking on the beach. I hope this summer you can take some of those relaxed days and spend some time sharing God with your children.
There are a lot of fun things you can do with your child this summer that will help her grow closer to God. Some will re-inforce God’s Words, while others can re-inforce godly principles. I promise: you and your child can have a joy filled summer that will make wonderful memories while also bringing your child closer to God.
I am a firm believer in starting good habits as early as possible. This should especially apply to starting the habits of living a godly life. One of the easiest, most enjoyable godly habits to start with your child is teaching them to serve others.
Our daughter was just over a year old when she actively participated in her first service project. Our church had collected cans of food to take to another congregation in town who served the poor in our city from their building. Our daughter would take cans of food off the shelves and put them in the bags or boxes we were taking downtown. At other times she would reverse the project and take cans people had donated and place them on the lower shelves. She was also able to hand them to me to place on higher shelves.