Cultivating Teachable Moments

I am soaking up the opportunity to watch Mekonen grow as a little person with thoughts, questions, and ideas about life. I can see these things maturing every day and I can't believe how much he is growing!

I am so incredibly thankful that I'm able to be at home with my kids, especially during their waking hours. We believe parents should be the primary disciplers of their children, not school, not church, not children's ministry or Bible studies, not Christians camps, or even Christian friends. Mekonen has been asking so many questions lately about God, the world, sin, Satan, etc. I am so glad that I am able to spend my days walking alongside my children and answering those questions. I don't always explain things in a way he can understand, and sometimes I fumble around trying to explain deep theological truths in a simple way, but I'm so glad I get the opportunity. I can't imagine being away from them every day and not having these spur of the moment conversations.
So, is there a way to "set up" or be intentional about the conversations we have with our children as we walk and talk along the way? I believe so. As Charlotte Mason says (an educational philosopher), "Education is life. A child's mind feeds on ideas and children have a natural appetite for knowledge. As parents and/or educators, we are responsible for what ideas we place in front of our children for their minds to feed on." Although she is talking more about education as a whole, I think this idea pertains specifically as well to teaching our children about God. This does not need to be awkward. It shouldn't be awkward. It's not as if we are supposed to formally sit down and drill our kids, being stoic and serious, on the catechisms of our faith. It's a way of life. But we can't do this way of life of discipling our children if we aren't placing the splendor of God in front of our kids for their minds to feed on, to think on, to sing, to recite. So much of teaching is providing the right "feast" for our kids to indulge on.

Along with our regular family devotional times at dinner, we've found some other little ways here and there to place the splendor of God, the deep truths of our faith, and theology of the Bible in front of our kids. One of the ways that has produced the most questions and conversations is listening to hymns. We bought a couple kids hymn CD's and play them in the car. They are upbeat, more modern versions of hymns and Mekonen absolutely loves them. We just listen to them, sing a long, etc. Nothing complex. And recently, the questions start flowing as he's learning the words and asking what things mean. This is the beauty of teaching our kids hymns. I have nothing against new praise and worship music, or even other little kid Bible songs (which we do listen to as well), but often, it's watered down versions of the Gospel or theology, and I've found doesn't produce many thought provoking ideas that spur questions and conversations. Hymns are saturated with great theology and for us, have been good seeds planted for the Lord to work in their hearts as they grow in understanding.

A few questions we've had recently from Mekonen that I want to record and remember
"Mommy, what does interposed his precious blood mean?" This came from the hymn "Come Thou Fount." The phrase "He to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood," enabled me to have a conversation with Mekonen about what Jesus' death on the cross has accomplished.

"What does it mean to bless the Lord," and "Who is a servant of the Lord?" This came from the hymn "Come Bless the Lord." We talked about how a servant of the Lord is someone who loves Jesus. I had to be careful to not go to the default of our hearts and say being a servant of the Lord is solely and simply "doing things, like good works, for Jesus." Oh how easy it is to reduce the Gospel to what we think we can do. So instead we talked about how keeping God's law and doing "good things" does not make us a servant of God. We talked about how God's law does not make us good, it just shows us how sinful we are and that we need Jesus to make us good. We have to keep telling him over and over again that if we take Jesus' goodness as our own, that "God looks upon us as being perfectly obedient, no matter how many times we disobey." (Elyse Fitzpatrick). There are many, many more applications of being a servant of the Lord, but for now, my unbelieving 3 year old simply needs to hear the Gospel part over and over again.

This past week his question was, "Mommy, what's wrong with Satan's heart?" (I cannot remember what song we were listening to. Our usual round of things was playing). I told him that his heart was against God. That is was prideful and full of sin. Then he asked, "What does Satan want us to do? And I told him that Satan wants us to believe lies about God's love and goodness. Then he wanted to know why. Which went back to, "because of his pride and sin." Which then led to how we all have pride and sin, but that if we trust in Jesus' goodness, his obedience becomes ours.

You can do this! Don't doubt yourself, don't worry about not saying the right things. Trust me, I fumble over my words way more than I feel like I get them out correctly in an understandable way. Most of Mekonen's questions don't get such formulated and succinct answers. But that's okay! God uses all of our answers, the one's we nail, and the one's we fumble around. God didn't ask us to make our children lovers of God. We are to simply commend the works of God to our children, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. "We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God's love and trusthworthiness" (Elyse Fitzpatrick).

Deuteronomy 11:19- You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

1 comment:

Melodie said...

i loved this post! the topic of satan has come up several times at our house in the last 2 weeks. i fumble alot, but count it a blessing they are interested and wanting to discuss these things.