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The Privilege of Training a Child - Simply Helping Him: Marriage Experience from a Help Meet



Jul 05

The Privilege of Training a Child

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).


I recently had the privilege of caring for a friend’s 5-year old son while his little brother was in the hospital. I work part-time as a dental hygienist, and just like it’s good for me to sit in the chair every now and then to remind myself of how it feels to be a dental patient, caring for this kindergartener has been a wonderful reminder of how it is to parent a preschooler.

Parents of preschoolers, my hat is off to you! How quickly I had forgotten some of the interesting characteristics of five-year-olds:  boundless energy, insatiable curiosity, and an uncanny ability to make a mess with everything they touch. Not to mention not sleeping very well at night (them and you), announcing loudly every time they have to go to the bathroom (even in church), and an irrational fear of vegetables.

I had forgotten one universal quality that quickly became apparent soon after Seth’s arrival into our household. I remembered that five-year-olds don’t know how to think silently. They must speak aloud every thought that occurs to them. Since Seth didn’t come from a Christian home, many of his thoughts were about our practices as Christians. “Why do you close your eyes when you pray?” “Why do you say, ‘Amen’?” “Why do you thank God for our food when we get it from the grocery store?” “What’s a Bible?” These were all questions my own children had asked, but somehow Seth’s questions were especially exciting because I realized I was watching him begin to understand that there was a God in Heaven who cared about him and his family.

If you are a parent of a young child, or an older one for that matter, take heart. With each diaper you change and each runny nose you wipe, every mess you clean and every Lego block you step on, you are earning the right to answer his questions. You are the privileged one who gets to teach her to fold her little hands to pray or watch while she drops her nickels and quarters into the offering plate each Sunday. You are there to hear him sing “God can do anything!” and whisper his prayers at bedtime.

These moments are worth every sacrifice you make. Not every child has a parent like you. Not every child knows before he can speak that Jesus loves them. Not every child knows that God hears and answers prayers. Not every child knows that her  mommy and daddy love God. Not every child knows what you know, and it is your privilege to teach them.


Application Questions:


What are some of the characteristics of children that you most enjoy?


Which characteristics challenge you the most?


What are you doing to prayerfully point your young ones to Christ?

Action Step for This Week:


Think about what a great privilege it is to teach and train our children to love God. Commit to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that lies within you, with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15) Apply this principle to your interaction with your children, intentionally looking for opportunities to point them to Christ during your day-to-day interactions.


Prayer of Commitment:


“Lord, thank you so much for the awesome privilege and responsibility you’ve given me to teach and train our children to know and love you. Help me never take this responsibility lightly, but to be diligent and intentional. Remind me that the days of my children’s youth go by so quickly. Help me never wish these days away, but enjoy every minute, even the challenging ones. I know that you, as my heavenly parent, provide the greatest example of patient parenting. Help me follow your example as I parent my children with the strength and wisdom you give.”


Joy in the Journey

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