Last night as we were getting ready for bed, my two year old picked up a book we have read together a couple of times. She handed it to me and said, “Read me Jesus.”
Teaching my child about Jesus is something I have committed to do. This task can be very difficult to do in a day and age where there are incredible amounts of resources and information. I want my daughter to know how loved she is by God and to truly understand basic truths about the gospel. I am fully aware that I can never “teach my daughter to be a Christian”. Her faith can only come from God himself- through his redeeming love. I can, however, nurture her faith in the time being and share with her the love of Jesus.
As I have pondered a great deal over how to do this with someone with such a short attention span, I have come up with a things that have worked for us. I am still looking for more ideas, so please, share! Through advice from other women in my life I have started trying to do the following every day in hopes to share with my daughter the great love of Jesus.
The first and most important step I have found as a parent is to be a godly model myself. If I expect my daughter not to throw temper tantrums, why should it be alright for me to get angry and lash out at my husband in front of her? This first and most crucial step in my parenting is daunting, because I will continually fail at godly modeling. Yet, I can also continually show my daughter what it looks like to be humble, repent, and ask for forgiveness. I fear that many inflict harm on their families by lording commands over their children yet do not “walk the walk”. The most loving and influential way I can show my daughter the love of Jesus over my lifetime is by showing her with my own life through my own faith. My daughter will watch my life very carefully as I live. She will watch what I do, where I go, what I spend my time and energy on, and how I spend my money. She will know what I believe in by my actions.
Sing Psalms together
Something we have started doing together is singing the psalms. Sounds old-fashioned, right? Especially with all of the christian music out there nowadays. What I love about singing the psalms is that we are literally memorizing scripture while singing and praising God. She is also learning how to sing using sheet music, which is also incredible on it’s own. To find a psalter and a collection of CD’s of psalms for singing, you can go here. You can also here tunes to all the psalms here.
My child might only be two, but we try in earnest to pray before meals, and once a day together as a family. I usually ask her to tell me a few prayer requests. At only two, she usually has one or two. It might be for Anna and Elsa, in which I thank God for making fun cartoons for us to enjoy. We try to pray for a friend in our church, my husband, and maybe another pressing need or world need. My hope is that my daughter would one day find it natural to pray to God on her own, and for others in her life as well, and to see the importance of prayer in her life. I see now it calms her down and gives us a time to give thanks as well as ask God for help in times of trouble or need (like yesterday when a spider was in her sweatshirt- she wanted to pray then!).
We try to sit down once a day and do a family devotion. This has looked very different. Sometimes it is during breakfast or dinner, sometimes it is on the rug after a little play time, sometimes it must be in the car on a long road trip. It usually lasts under fifteen minutes for us and for her age, and I have found the most important part of family devotions is that it is done daily, if even for five minutes. I read her a bible story, and then we discuss it. Or I might ask her some very simple and straightforward questions about God from a little First Catechism book I have for her, “Who made you?”, for example. I basically want to get a dialogue going on, talk to her about God and open up questions. I would love for these short moments to grow over the years into meaningful discussions about her life, her faith, and other important topics. I also hope these will teach her to express herself and her desires and give us an opportunity in the rush of life to “connect” each day and re-focus our eyes on God.
We have been practicing scripture memory. For her age, we only practice one verse for about a week or so. To my amazement, she can do it! It is so fun to watch her memorize some bible verses. I hope one day these verses will help her to grasp the gospel.
The greatest advice I have received is to be diligent in teaching my daughter about God. Small snippets of learning time every day is greater than an hour every month or so. I have been advised to not give up hope when things seem to be moving slow, and to stop what I am doing and take a few minutes to pray even on the busiest of days. These are precious family moments we will cherish forever. I try to have patience, humility, and to rejoice in small steps.
Share with me ways you and your family talk about God, do bible studies, or teach your children about the gospel? Also, any great resources you have loved?
Here are a few of my fave resources: