I’m sure I didn’t do everything right when raising my kids. No one does. There is no perfect parent, but it sure is sweet when you realize you did something right, even if you didn’t realize all the implications it would have when you did it. (Be sure to read Part 1 of this series, too!)
As a really young mom, my kids were born pretty close together, and I didn’t have much time for anything but my kids. But as some of the kids got a little older, God impressed upon me that I needed to teach my kids to serve others. Sometimes that’s best learned through doing.
There was an elderly couple who used to come to our church. They had been missionaries to Germany during the time just before World War II . We invited them to our home for dinner one day and began to get to know them. Soon after that, the man, who had diabetes, had to have his leg amputated and their visits to church become less frequent. We would watch for them to arrive each week, though, and we’d help to wheel Mr. Hutchinson in to church as it was a bit hard for his wife to do that.
Then we began to visit them. I would always take Laura with me. She was about 10 years old. I’d talk with her on the way out to their house (they lived about an hour from us) about how to listen for hints of things they liked or things they needed to have done that we might be able to do. Aunt Lillie, as we called her, would often ask Laura to play her a song on the piano when we visited.
Rick and I used to joke whenever we’d sing the hymn Blessed Quietness, saying, “hey, what is that?!” Quietness was not something you often experienced in our home. I remember times when the noise was so overpowering that I’d call a quiet time. That meant everyone had to sit quietly, read or play a quiet game for a specified period of time just to give mom a time to collect her thoughts. It wasn’t always chaos but when you have 16 people living in the same house, it’s just not quiet. It’s busy. It’s active. There’s always something going on.
Well, things have changed now. I only have 2 kids living at home. Those 2 kids have jobs and interests and commitments and more often than not, my house is REALLY quiet. I’ve had a couple of occasions lately when a friend has stopped by and comments, “Wow, it just seems weird that your house is so quiet now.” It is weird ,and I’m not sure I like it. It has it’s advantages sometimes,(it’s easier to concentrate when I write for instance) but I LOVED experiencing life with my growing kiddos. I am proud of every one of them for the people they’ve turned out to be, but I do miss being mommy to little people.
How can you instill the practice of studying God’s Word into your children? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, let me share with you what we did with our own children….
From the time our children were babes in the bassinet, we played Bible audios for them at sleep times. It would be a comfort to them and help them to settle down to turn on their Bible CD’s. Pretty early on, Rick recorded audios for them and explained difficult words and meanings to them which was actually teaching them how to meditate on God’s Word. This also served to show the kids that God’s Word was practical and interesting to listen to.
We read Bible stories to our little people and had a Friday night Bible quiz each week asking questions from our reading during the week. We would reward them for answering questions, and it encouraged them to be attentive during reading times- to want to “pay attention on purpose.”