*I have not been paid to review or endorse any products mentioned in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always!
When is it too early to begin leading your child on their faith journey?
The answer: It’s never too early to begin living as a spiritual guide/leader for your child.
One of the most rewarding and important parts of parenting is the privilege of teaching our own children, and guiding them on the “right” path to follow in life. If we begin guiding and teaching them at a very young age, and then building upon those early, biblical precepts, then the journey can be a (mostly) pleasurable experience for all.
It can be daunting, sometimes, especially when we remember that we are all still learning, growing, and maturing spiritually, even as adults. At times we find ourselves feeling sorely unprepared and ill-equipped to handle this challenge. We may even say to ourselves, “who do I think I am, trying to guide my child spiritually, when I can’t even get my own act together?”
It’s okay…we all feel that way. Yes, we’ll make mistakes along the way – but honesty and forgiveness go a long way to ensure that our mistakes do not cause irreparable harm. In fact, they are reminders that we have to be constantly mindful of the personal spiritual journey we are on, too.
The best way to teach our children is to model the actions that we would have them learn. And that’s a challenge. “Oh be careful little mouth what you say…” Little ears are listening, ALL the time.
When we are serving as our children’s guide on a path that we are literally still navigating ourselves, we can all use some guidance of our own. I am thankful to have others surrounding me to do just that – my husband, my own parents, my siblings, church family, and good friends to turn to for advice and direction.
I am also thankful for other precious resources that have helped me to realize new ways to keep us all on the “straight and narrow,” as well as reminders of the old ways.
My first resource is daily personal quiet time with the Lord. As long as I am disciplined and faithful in my daily Bible study and prayer life, I am better equipped to stay on track, and thus serve as a better role model for my children.
When my sons were younger, MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) proved to be an excellent organization for advice and accountability. It also served as an outlet and opportunity to make and strengthen my own personal friendships.
Author Stormie O’Martian’s books, “The Power of a Praying Parent” and “For This Child I Prayed” have been great encouragement in times when words failed me and I didn’t even know what I was supposed to pray, even as early as during my first pregnancy. I treasure those books.
Recently, I had the opportunity to read a new eBook called, “Banana Splits for Breakfast: 55 Ways to Spiritually Guide Your Preschooler,” by Dr. Susan Harrison. Dr. Harrison, who has a degree in educational ministry and is a former children’s ministry director, has pulled together this list of wonderful ideas, with vivid examples and explanations written in an easy-to-read, conversational tone, for strengthening you on your journey, both as a believer and as a spiritual leader for your children.
Reading through the entire list in one sitting, I found myself making notes that are of great use to me right now, even though my boys, ages 11 and 6, have outgrown their preschool years. Things like “make a family mission statement” and “tell your child five things you appreciate about him today” are things I can always do with my children, no matter what age. I was pleased to read ideas that I realized we have been doing, and being reminded to continue doing, such as “show your child grace when he sins,” and “pray to God for wisdom in parenting.” And, honestly, I also started to kick myself as I realized the wealth of great ideas she is sharing that I haven’t done, such as “ask your child sensory questions about the Bible.” However, I realized – not only is it never too early to begin as a spiritual leader for your children, but it is never too late, either!
If you are interested in this book it is currently available for download to your Kindle on Amazon (click HERE), currently for FREE until 7/14/2014! After that, the price goes up to $2.99 for the download. So, if you want to find out why you should serve banana splits for breakfast, I suggest you download it now!
Remember, we all need encouragement and support as parents at times – MOST of the time! We’ll make mistakes, but there is forgiveness. I am also so thankful that the Lord goes before me, and comes along beside me, as I strive to do the best I can do as I strive to raise children to, above all, love Him with their whole hearts. This is always my most fervent prayer and desire in life!
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6