Naaman is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. You see, Naaman was a wealthy, powerful man in his world. There was only one problem. He had contracted leprosy, which meant being ostracized from society. His wife’s servant had heard of the prophet Elisha’s ability to do miracles. Fast forward and Naaman is told by Elisha that to be healed he merely needs to wash in the Jordan River seven times. Simple, right?
Naaman was…. appalled! The Jordan River was not a mighty, beautiful river. It couldn’t possibly be the answer. The problem is that too many of us are like Naaman. The simple solution seems too plain… too dirty. Why do that when we can wash in fancier or more expensive water? Yet, those fancy things wouldn’t cure Naaman. Only obeying God and washing in the muddy Jordan would heal him.
Christian parenting can be like that. We want to be able to spend money or do something fancy to ensure our kids will grow up to be strong, faithful, productive Christians. Unfortunately, there is no magic, fancy, pretty solution. Christian parenting is successful when parents do those simple every day things with their children – like family devotionals, prayer and regular worship attendance. It comes from consistent serving of others and sharing your faith.
And it comes from the daily shaping of their character and hearts. Want a simple ongoing, fun activity that can help shape your children’s character? It’s not fancy. Or expensive. It won’t work immediately. You will have to do it with your kids – at least at first. Over time though, it can help your children develop perseverance, patience, a strong work ethic, problem solving abilities and much more.
So what is one of the Jordan Rivers of Christian parenting? Jigsaw puzzles! Yes, jigsaw puzzles. Find a card table you can leave up all of the time and start a jigsaw puzzle. If you sit and work on it for a time, your kids will likely join you (assuming you enforce device free time in your home). Have fun with it. The puzzles should be challenging, but not too frustrating – especially if they have never done one before. Be excited by the idea of finishing it and they will catch your excitement. As time goes on and the puzzles get harder and take longer to solve, you may just find they are improving their character as well.