Personal Reflection: Being Christian… with myself
BEING CHRISTIAN… IN MY HOME
Julie Reynolds, Children’s & Family Minister
A few years ago, I learned the following statistic: On average, Children’s and Family Ministers only have 40 hours per year with the kids they teach, while parents have more than 3000 hours with their children every year. “Home” has the unique opportunity to be the most influential force in a child’s spiritual life.
It’s a good thing parenthood isn’t already full of pressure and anxiety! Oh wait…
Unfortunately teaching children about Jesus at home isn’t any less challenging when you teach children about Jesus professionally. Facebook recently reminded me of the following conversation with my daughter, Clementine, who was three at the time.
Me: Clementine, we don’t run in parking lots. It isn’t safe.
Clementine: Yeah, because one time I got hit by a car and died. Then three days later I rose from the dead.
A few weeks ago, my now four-year-old daughter visited Godly Play for the second time. She was excited to tell me about the story she heard of Jesus being tempted in the desert.
Clementine: The Batman tried to get Jesus to jump! But Jesus knew that was not a very good choice for him. Jesus told him, “NO!”
Me: Wow, the bad man wanted to Jesus to do something he knew was a bad idea.
Clementine: No, mama. BATMAN. It was Batman. But yes, Jesus told him no.
As a children’s minister, I love these stories. I love the way kids think about God and process the world around them based on what they’ve learned. If another parent told me these stories, I would encourage them that their child was internalizing the stories of scripture and understanding that the things they learned were about their own lives – that is so exciting! That is such a win in children’s ministry.
Here is the good news, parents – (also, hear the Good News, parents!) God made you in such a special way that you can show your kids God’s love like no one else. God is with you while you do it. No matter how messy it is – nothing will change God’s love for you. This is just as true for you, as it is for your kids.
Practically, our family focuses on four times (based on Deuteronomy 6)—meal time, drive time, bath time, and bed time—to talk about our faith. We give our kids opportunities to pray at meals or bedtime, and model natural language when we pray out loud with them. Bath toys are fun for acting out Bible stories. Dinner and drive time seem to be when we get the best glimpses into what the girls are concerned about or have questions about. We try to point to God’s truth in these tender places, and resist the temptations to have all the answers. In all things, Grace—for our kids and ourselves.