Nov30ThuHow we are planting seeds of faith in our children. November 30, 2017 by Lieutenant Laura Hickman
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.—Proverbs 22:6
God has always been an integral part of my life. My family faithfully attended church and God was always central to who we were and what we did. In high school I wrestled with what it meant to be a follower of Christ; I emerged from that time as a young woman confident in her relationship with the maker of heaven and earth. That confidence has held firm throughout my life.
As a spiritual leader and mother of two young children, I often wonder if I’m doing enough to “start my children off on the way they should go.” Those daily suppertime devotions have not yet made it into the family routine. Nightly Bible reading is a nice idea, but again, not yet routine. While saying grace is part of every meal, sometimes I wonder if my children understand the meaning behind it. When I think about all the things I’m not doing, I begin to doubt the spiritual foundation I’m laying for them.
But a moment last September gave me a new perspective. My mother was in the hospital and my husband, David, was busy, so I went to visit her on my own with Lily and Malcolm. The only parking space remaining on the road was between two cars, requiring me to parallel park. Although I know how to parallel park in theory, in practice, I was a little rusty. After my second failed attempt, I prayed out loud, “Lord, please help me!” I took a deep breath and slowly, but successfully, secured the parking space. My daughter and I both celebrated with a relieved, “Hurray!”
Before entering the hospital, it was clear that my son would need a new diaper, so I decided to change him in the back of the van. Lily puttered inside near the front. Before I could finish changing Malcolm, a bee decided to pay us a visit. Lily’s level of panic quickly mounted as the bee flew in her direction, too close for comfort. I couldn’t rush to her rescue because I had to finish caring for my son. When I was finally able, I went to the front to help Lily. As the door opened, I heard her desperately praying, “Please, Lord. O Lord, please.”
That was a significant moment for me. I realized right then that seeds of faith are definitely sprouting within my four year old. While we have not settled into a predictable spiritual rhythm as a family, what we have done is orient our lives around the Creator of heaven and earth. God is simply part of everything we do.
My husband has a reputation for singing any time and anywhere. Lily has spent many happy hours marching in circles around our house, playing homemade instruments, and belting out, “When I remember that he died for me, I’ll never go back any more….” Malcom is already showing his joy of music and will soon be joining the family band. While these times often bring laughter into our home, the songs have deep meaning and will assist us in starting our children off in the way they should go.
As Lily continues to grow, her interest in matters of faith is also growing. God is part of our daily conversations and she has many questions. She is amazed at all that God has created, comforted by the truth that God is with us when we are scared and seems to be surprised that God knows her name. While we still have much of the Bible to explore together, Lily is beginning to learn the truths of Scripture a couple memory verses at a time.
As the sprouts of Lily’s faith begin to emerge, I am encouraged by what I see. While our routine is not perfect, the spiritual foundation being laid for our children is one of relationship. God is an integral part of who we are and all that we do. We live our lives with him at the centre, and while things do not always go as planned, our children are learning that God is always good.
Lieutenant Laura Hickman is the corps officer at Suncoast Citadel in Goderich, Ont.