As Christian parents, my Hubby and I aspire to bring up our children in the fear of the Lord. That would include giving due respect to God, saying our prayers before meals and bedtime, keeping each other covered in prayer during times of illness and distress and establishing a routine of going to church weekly. These are simple and tangible ways that we would like our children to adopt when young as we gradually infuse godly values into their lives.
So far, it’s been a very conscious effort on our part and now, 32 months since J was born, we see in him exhibiting bits of childlike faith and gratitude in the things he does. How do we do it? Right from the beginning, we model to him that the things in life that are given ought not be taken for granted for. We pray before every meal, thanking God for His provision. It’s a simple ‘Thank You God for the milk, amen!’, followed by ‘Thank you, Mama (or Papa)’ to appreciate the person who had prepared his milk. Now, he does it naturally and even to grandparents who prepare meals for them once a while.
Before sleep, I would recount the happenings of the day with J and we would thank God or reflect upon what had happened. This part of the day, I try to keep it as part of bonding as well, where I ask for his thoughts about some incidents that happened and had affected him. For example, he was rather shaken when a classmate of his bit his arm. With some leading questions like ‘Why did xxx bite your arm?’, ‘Oh, it must have hurt you a lot?’, ‘So, he bit you because you snatched his toy… Do you think you could ask him nicely next time if you want to play his toy?’ he was able to sort out his thoughts and bring the day to a closure. With an excellent memory, he is sometimes able to apply what he had resolved to do in the next few days that followed. I believe it is also the part of parental advice and giving some form of direction and guidance that helps him to think through his future actions and eventually play a part in moulding his character.
There are times where he would have his days of rebellion and stubbornness. While it is common in toddlers where they thrive in asserting their new found voice of ‘no!’, that is something we as parents do not tolerate as it would signal the start of an open defiance which needs to be curbed asap lest it escalates it school-going years and becomes unmanageable. We use memory verse songs from Steve Green to teach him about what the Bible says of ‘Bring up a child in the way he should go… and he will not depart from it’ as well as ‘Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you… that your days may be long with you’. At a tender age, we gave concrete examples of what it meant to obey God and parents. It’s still a challenge but we are glad we started laying the foundation very early in his life.
J has been attending Sunday school lessons weekly too and there, he memorises verses from the Bible, sings songs to worship God as well as interact with peers. We see him growing little by little as he recites these verses in the form of songs and shares with us what he learnt in class. Just yesterday, he came home chirpy and kept singing a song with the words ‘Hosanna!’. He shared that he learnt about a king in the Bible called Solomon too and that he worshipped God. When prompted of the verse he learnt, he said ‘Worship the Lord!’. That was an awesome recollection from a 2.5 year old that can lead to many meaningful discussions as a family. 🙂
To end off this post, J did something really sweet this morning when he woke me from my bedside. I was still sleeping and recovering from a terrible bout of heartburn and indigestion and he woke me up with the usual ‘Mama, wake up!’ I grimaced in pain and told him to play on his own for awhile as I needed some more rest. 5 minutes later, he came back to wake me up, this time telling me that he needed to go to school already. While I was really happy that he is taking initiative and responsibility as a child, I really could not move out of bed. ‘J, Mummy is not feeling good today. Can you pray for me? My tummy is so painful.’ Without another word, he clasped his hands and uttered a prayer of healing for me. It was such a simple prayer but so heartwarming! Immediately felt better and thanked him for being such a sweet boy.
I guess, whether or not we share similar convictions in beliefs, being actively involved in his bringing-up will slowly but surely reap positive benefits if we persevere. May we all have wisdom from above to guide and lead our children before they grow wings to leads their charges likewise.