"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise..."--Psalm 8:1-2a Now I don't want to give you the impression that we have this training thing all down. If you see us on Sundays, you'll probably still see our kids (i.e. the boys) on the carpet of the sanctuary playing with toys and Legos. We still need to take Jonathan out every now and then when he screams, and we still need to remind him not to interrupt the nice people behind us by turning around and staring at them.
We also know that this is a process that takes time. We set a standard and keep inching them toward it. I have learned that it doesn't help to get angry at them---it only makes Sunday a miserable time for everyone. Instead, I just whisper quietly in their ear and remind them to sit down or turn around or sing along. It keeps me calmer and prevents a scene in the sanctuary!
As I have mentioned in yesterday's post, one of the things we can do to help our kids grow to love Sundays is to "practice" at home, even when they are little babies and preschoolers. True, they may not understand everything at church, but I can still help them get into the habit of listening instead of tuning out when the pastor gets up to the pulpit.
This past year, my husband initiated the practice of having family devotions after dinner. (You would think we would have started this when the kids were younger, but like I said, we're still learning too!) It is the only time of the day that we actually are all together. We are reading through Long Story Short by Marty Machowski (I'll write a review on the book another time), which is taking us through key Bible stories. We end in prayer, and it has been such a joy for us to hear our children praise the Lord and talk to Him.
If the idea of family devotions scares you because you think you don't know enough, may I share a thought? How much will you need to know before you do know enough? We will never mine the depths of God's word. I have found it better to model a teachable heart, admitting that you don't know everything (which is the hard part!), and then just learn along with your kids. For kids, the attitude can speak louder than words.
As we have learned together as a family, the Lord has given us great opportunities to explore the great expanse of who God is. My prayer is that these moments at home will help our children to approach the teaching of God's Word wherever they are with a teachable and discerning heart. Even if it's just once a week, it is a wonderful way to help your children grow in the fear of the Lord.