From the time our boys were born - and before, of course, - we pray for them and over them. Malachi is old enough that he prays before bedtime instead of us having to lead him. One day soon, Lawson will also be able to pray without us leading him. From the time they were born, we have and still are teaching them the importance of being kind to everyone. No matter their economic status, color, the car they drive, the house they live in, etc....just be kind. From the time they were born we have tried and still are teaching them to respect those around them. It all Starts at Home.
We have been doing a 6 week bible study titled, you guessed it, "It Starts at Home." It's been a wonderful series on things that should start at home. For instance, your child's knowledge of Jesus. Do you teach them at home about the love of Christ or do you wait for the church to do it because "that's their job?" We should be doing the teaching and letting the church reinforcing. If our kids see us live out the love of Christ in our home then, I believe they are far more apt to live out the love of Christ when they step out of their front door. It Starts at Home.
Our kids, well at least this is true for my boys, pick up on every little action and word that Nick and I do and say. While driving the other day, me and the boys were stuck in traffic, and seriously though, people just wouldn't drive right. :) And from the back seat I hear from Malachi, Ugh!, these people are getting on my nerves. Let's go people! What was I gonna say when he had just heard me say it the day before and probably the day before that. One night, as we were laying in bed, Malachi had the hiccups and he could not go to sleep. He said, "Mommy, will you pray for my hiccups to go away?" Well, being the doubting Thomas I am sometimes, I thought to myself, praying is not gonna help those go away. But then it was almost like the Lord came down and got in my face, in a loving way of course, and said, "Haven't you been teaching him to pray and ask me to help him with whatever his needs are and I will?" So, I began to pray for his hiccups that God would just take them away and help him to go to sleep. I said amen and he never hiccuped again. Malachi believed Jesus would help because we had taught him from the time he could comprehend that Jesus can help in even the smallest of things. The next day he ran up to his daddy and said daddy, Jesus helped my hiccups. It Starts at Home.
It frustrates me when I hear people constantly saying, well if they wouldn't have taken prayer out of school this wouldn't have happened. Guess what? No one took prayer away from your kids. Teach them to pray at home and to pray when they leave their front door. I would love for principals and and teachers to be able to pray out loud for our kids and over kids. But just because they can't do it out loud, doesn't mean it can't happen in silence. If we teach our kids at home, then chances are they will do it outside the home. Do your kids see you pray? I can remember very distinctly the old, ugly, green plastic (maybe not plastic but it sure wasn't leather) couch I had growing up. Every night before bed, I always saw my Momma knelt by the couch praying. I love that that is one of my most vivid memories growing up. I want our boys to see us pray.
We obviously can't control every action and every spoken word that our kids do and say once they are out of our sight (sometimes even when they are in our sight). But I do believe that if we can start at home teaching them the important things, and there are clearly way more areas that I didn't talk about, I believe our kids will be more inclined to follow these teachings when we are not around. We're not perfect and we are certainly gonna fail. But by God's grace and mercy, we can raise men and women of God starting in our home.
Here are a couple of family activities that we have done and others in the bible study shared. They are family activities and have great lessons behind them. If you try one of them, let me know how it went. How did your kid's respond?
1. Supplies: tube of toothpaste for each kid participating and a plate or any space really for them to squeeze the tube out on, and a toothpick
*Have each child squeeze all the toothpaste out as fast as they can. (every kid loves a good race)
*When you notice all of the toothpaste almost all squeezed out, give them an incentive, like $5, $10, whatever you choose...
*but....in order to get that money, they have to get all of the toothpaste back in the tube with the toothpick (impossible)
*Once they've tried for a bit teach them a lesson. When words leave our mouth, we can't take them back.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
2. The trust game
* Mom or dad be the catcher as the other explains what to do. So if dad is the catcher, mom you fall back in to his arms. (dad please catch her) ;) Dad, before they fall, tell them that they can trust you even though they can't see you.
* Then let each of your kids take a turn. (we did this one with the boys, well Malachi at least)
* Lesson: Even though we can't see God we can trust him because He says it in his word.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.