Deuteronomy 6: 5 – 9 (MSG) “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
My son has always been an animated storyteller. Since he was old enough to talk he’d wake up in the morning chattering away and not stop really until he drifted off to the adventures that awaited him in his nightly dreams. I remember his confidence and boldness showing at a very early age. It was his first day of kindergarten. On the drive to school he decided that he was no longer “Mommy’s baby” he was a big “Kindergartner.” He confidently exclaimed “Mom, I’m not your baby anymore. I am a kinder-gar-den-er and you know that I am much bigger than a baby.” He was so sure of himself, an assurance I hadn’t seen in him until that day.
Like most other mothers I know, I had to choke back tears as a flood of emotion overwhelmed me. “See ya Mom” he boasted, tossing a little wave my way. He hopped out of the car and was off on a new adventure. As I watched him walk away, I realized that my baby boy was growing up. Where had the first five years gone? Just yesterday he was coming home from the hospital. Then it hit me, the words of Deuteronomy chapter 6 verses 5 through 9 came to life in a way they never had before. Was I training my child to love God and obey His commands? As I drove away from the drop-off zone I prayed “Father, have I taught him to love you with all of his heart? Am I pointing to you enough to leave a lasting impression? Please help me be more proactive in showing him your love and mercy.”
In the days that followed that first day of school God revealed several things to assure me that my son was in-fact learning to hide His word in that tiny little heart of his. For example, one night while my husband and I were cleaning up from dinner, my son grabbed the pocket size Bible I usually carry in my purse and headed over to his Dad’s chair. Making himself comfortable, he opened the Bible as if he were going to begin reading. His little finger moved over the page as he recited his memory verse (Luke 11:1) “Lord, teach me to pray.” A tear ran down my face. My son hadn’t even learned how to read but in spite of that he managed to hide the truth of that verse in his heart. For me that was huge, especially since my unbelieving husband was just a few feet away. I quickly praised God for the little light that was shining through my son.
God continues to this day to use the light inside my son. What a blessing it is to be able to send our son to a school where the word of God is incorporated into the curriculum and prayer is encouraged. Through the years, my faith has been increased by seeing my son’s child-like faith in action, and I pray my husband will come to know Christ by seeing our son incorporate Godly principles into his life.
So how is raising kiddos like a football game?
Four quarters make up an entire football game. Let’s suppose that, similar to a football game, you divide the time you have raising your child (children) into four 5-year quarters. If you look back over the first five years of your child’s life, ask yourself how you are doing in “training your child in the way he or she should go.” Have you pointed him/her/them to Christ? Have you encouraged them to hide God’s word in their hearts? Have you encouraged them to pray? Encouraging them to establish a firm foundation while they are young will help them to avoid sinking sand when they are older. God’s word promises that.
Father, I praise you today for who You are, and for the things that You are doing inside our house. Thank you for placing Godly influences in my son’s life at church and school. I pray that you will continue to guide me in training him in the way that he should go. I know he will not depart from these ways when he is older because Your word promises that. Let Your light continue to shine bright through him and me so that others may see and believe that you are God. Amen