Some women, like Deedra Scherm, seem to have been born with a parenting creativity gene. In this Parenting UPGRADE, she offers practical counsel for building spiritual insight into children’s lives.
“I was driving in downtown Dallas, trying to find my way to have lunch with my cousin Cathy,” Deedra says, “when I had to pull over to call my husband.”
Like Deedra, I (Dawn) often get turned around in the car. (OK, I get totally, horribly lost.) I used to feel terrible about that until I read somewhere that Einstein, a genius, often lost his way too. (Maybe that’s a myth, but I’m sticking with it!)
Deedra continues …
“I’m LOST!” I said with great frustration. “And I’m already 10 minutes late for lunch!”
“Okay," my husband said. "Just tell me where you are.”
“If I knew THAT, I wouldn’t be LOST!”
Shortly after that my husband gave me a GPS (Global Positional System) to help me navigate the roads. Is it too much to say I love my GPS? Because I do. I no longer have anxiety when I have to navigate new roads. I just turn it on and enjoy the path I’m driving.
My spiritual life needs a lot of guidance at times. Over the years I have learned about the importance of reading God’s Word, prayer, and wise counsel, because I’ve discovered, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NAS).
I wanted to start teaching my children at a very young age how to understand the importance of God’s desire to guide their lives.
Their “God Positioning System.” Their own “GPS.”
I thought I’d share a few easy ways to help plant seeds in young children on how to seek God’s guidance for themselves. The hope is that as they get older, seeking God’s guidance will become a natural part of their lives.
1. RECORD family prayers.
It seems like such a simple thing, but it can have such a great impact when you take the time to pray as a family and write down the requests and answers. The visual of written requests and recorded answers can make a lasting impression on a child about how God listens and responds.
When you record family prayers, it not only shows kids the importance of prayer, but it encourages them to seek prayer for themselves as they face decisions in their own lives.
2. RECALL the times God has personally guided you.
Find ways to share moments where God has guided you and your family to where you are now.
When the boys are enjoying playing at the park next to our house, I like to say, “I remember when we were looking for a place to live and we just couldn’t find anything. Then we prayed for God to open up a house near this park. What a wonderful blessing He gave us with our house.”
When you recall how you sought God for a decision point in your life, it will encourage them to seek His guidance when they are faced with decision in front of them.
3. RELATE your child’s story to the story of someone in the Bible.
The Word of God is one of the main paths of guidance for us as Christians. Whenever we can direct our children to find connections to scripture, it will help them be able to relate as they get older.
When your child is experiencing fear, tell them about the story of Daniel and how God will take care of them in the scariest of circumstances. When they are worried about if they are good enough, tell them the story of the boy with five loaves and a couple of fish and how Jesus can take what you have and use it for His glory.
When you relate your child’s story to the Bible, it will encourage them to seek the Word for guidance when they are faced with challenging circumstances before them.
4. REMEMBER to show God’s provision in the “less-than-what-I-hoped-for.”
I remember circling a parking lot with my three boys in the car when the “front row” spot opened. “It’s the favor of God!” said one boy.
At first, I was a little proud at his response. But as I thought about it, I realized that if I only thank God for the good things, when things get tough the kids could believe it’s because God has no hand in it.
The next time we got the back-row spot, I said, “Oh, it would have been great to be in the front row, but maybe God knew I needed some extra exercise. Or maybe someone who has trouble walking needed that spot more than we did.”
After time, I saw the boys applying this principle to all sorts of areas in their lives … from when they didn’t win the prize in the raffle to when someone else at church got the starring spot in the spring musical.
When you remember to show God’s provision in tough times, it will encourage kids to trust God’s plan even when things don’t go their way.
What a great gift you can give to your kids if you teach them to have their own “GPS.” Then they can stop worrying about being lost, and really start enjoying the journey!
Can you think of a teachable moment when you recently taught a child (or a mentee or a friend) how to trust God for guidance? Which of Deedra’s four points could you use in the days ahead?
Deedra Scherm lives in Dallas with her husband and three boys. Between homeschooling and writing, she’s on constant watch for “parents night out” so she and her hubby can get one of those things called a date night. You can find Deedra’s bestselling book, The ABC Bible Verse Book, and other books and DVDs at lemonvision.com or amazon.com.