So many concepts in the Bible are difficult for children to understand. All young children (and many older children) are concrete thinkers. When they read scriptures talking about God using a “refiner’s fire” (Zechariah 13:9 and more), they may believe God literally uses fire somehow. Even though the references to God as the potter and us as His clay (Isaiah 64:8) are a bit more concrete, they can still confuse children, who may wonder how they are clay.
Sometimes actually showing children items and explaining them in more depth can help them process metaphors and analogies in the Bible a bit more easily. When you think of all of those scriptures and others like them, there is a basic underlying concept. Because we – in this case your children – are born as babies into a fallen world, we aren’t fully yet what God created us to be.
God sends circumstances and people, gives us the Bible, and at baptism the Holy Spirit to help us grow to become more like His image in which we were created. What better example for that than sea glass?
“Fine” That’s often the favorite word of the quiet child. If you have a quiet child, you may feel like it takes an enormous amount of effort to get him to speak a complete sentence, much less pour his heart out to you. Quiet kids can be male or female and any age, although parents seem the most frustrated trying to communicate with quiet teen boys.
You may be tempted to give up and not try after a few hundred failed attempts at conversation. Unfortunately, parenting is much more difficult when your child doesn’t open up and talk. Christian parenting is virtually impossible because a child who doesn’t tell you what’s on her heart and mind leaves you guessing by the behaviors you see. (Which can be a very inaccurate measure of the heart.)
Your quiet child is also very likely introverted and likes to go off and be alone for hours at a time. You can’t change how God created your child’s nature, but you can soften it a bit. (The strengths God gave your kids can become detrimental when taken to the extreme. God provides parents to mold those gifts to God’s original design and plan – often softening them from the extremes to which kids will often take their gifts.)
If you have a quiet child, doing these things should help if done consistently over a period of time.
Some of you are shocked to learn talkative kids exist. You may have a houseful of children who grunt more than they talk and think saying,”Nope” is exhausting. If you are raising a talkative child though, you may have days when you wish he were just a tad less vocal.
It’s probably no surprise to you (and certainly isn’t to my family) that I am a talkative person myself. I never meet a stranger, and can usually coax conversation out of even the most reluctant teen. It’s probably why I studied education in college and love to teach!
While your talker may wear you out at times, you need to understand this is a child who is displaying her gift from God. A talker can become an amazing Bible class teacher. She can get total strangers talking about their faith without breaking a sweat. He can preach a sermon without major nerves. Talking is a gift from God, He gave your talkative child to serve Him.
Unfortunately, talking, when undeveloped and unfocused, can drive people away from God instead of to Him. Self-centered talking can cause others to keep things quiet your child needs to know to serve more effectively. Talking when developed without the spiritual, godly aspects can create an arrogant, materialistic speaker – using his or her gift, but not necessarily in godly ways.
There are 5 things you need to do if you are raising a talker.
To be an effective Christian parent, you really need to understand your children’s hearts. You need to know their priorities, what they love and what gets them excited about life. Those insights can help better guide you as you dedicate your kids to God. Unfortunately, no matter how well you know your kids, you can ultimately only see the parts of their hearts they allow you to see.
If your child is quiet, very private or going through a tough time, those glimpses of his or her heart can be hard to find. There are some fun things you can do though, that will give you sneak peeks into the hearts of even the quietest child. Some of these you may already be doing with your kids, but didn’t realize the important information the results of those activities was giving you about their hearts.
Here are a few of my favorites and how to start interpreting them.
In Why Christian Moms Need Special Outings With Tween Daughters, I shared some of the reasons I believe it’s so important for moms to take the time to go on special outings with their tween daughters. Honestly, I would encourage you to continue the practice well into adulthood. Your daughters will need your love, attention and mentoring all of their lives.
Maybe you love the idea, but have no idea what would be a good outing after you have been to the movies, had a manicure or gone shopping. Below, I’ve shared some of the things I did with my daughter as well as some things my friends have done with their daughters. Unlike other areas of Christian parenting, I don’t think these outings have to revolve around a spiritual or religious activity. Some of our best conversations have happened in tea rooms or on walks on the beach.