It was a fall evening and our four children and I had been shopping at Wal-Mart. After piling into the car, we began a brief journey to the grocery store a mile away. As I was getting ready to get the kids out of the car, I realized my purse was nowhere to be found. Realizing I had laid my purse on the hood of the car before I buckled our little guy in his car seat, that familiar sick feeling came over me; I had forgotten to take my purse off the hood. Frankly, I wasn't hopeful I’d find it at the parking lot. It had been pretty busy that day. Nonetheless, I told my children about my predicament and together we prayed, asking God to reunite me with my purse.
We immediately headed back to Wal-Mart and as we pulled back into our previous parking space, there was my purse! Needless to say, I was thrilled and, to my embarrassment, a little surprised God had answered our prayers. Right away, I told the kids we needed to pray and thank God for answering our prayers. It was a teachable moment, and admittedly, the kind that was easy to be grateful for.
As I have reflected occasionally on that memory and others like it, I have come to appreciate the value of finding deliberate times to teach our children and to help them see how the truths of God’s Word impacts real life. Like you and me, they need to see God's love, character, and faithfulness in personal and tangible ways. It’s simply not enough for us to share Bible stories and hope our children will know how it impacts their lives. It's imperative for us to “connect the dots” for them, so they know how these truths can help them navigate through life.
Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer on a regular basis. Ask Him to help you identify teachable moments and to help you find ways to communicate these effectively each day. Meal times are great times to debrief about the events of the day. Don't preach at your children, but instead ask questions to draw them out and to help them come to right conclusions for themselves. Travel times also provide meaningful opportunities to spark valuable conversation.
As you practice listening and talking to your children, they will begin to see how God's Word affects the way they think about the world. It will change them and help them to become change agents in the world. They'll come to appreciate how relevant God's Word is to their lives.
"Impress these words of Mine on your hearts and your souls, bind them as sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give you fathers." ~Deut. 11:18-21