In a recent parenting class, our family pastor was talking about informally training and teaching our children. He made the point that everything in life is an opportunity to teach, and we shouldn’t just rely on church services or devotion times at home. Now I completely agree with this; however, his first example had to be how you respond when your child comes running up to you with a bug or a lizard. Hmm. This story came to mind. He asked if our first reaction was to tell them to take it out of the house. Yes. Or do we use it as a way to talk about God and his creation? Hmm, again. I laughed to myself and thought, “I don’t know why I can’t talk about God and His creation after the bug or lizard is safely outside!”
Well, wouldn’t you know that exactly two days later Faith, my ten-year-old, caught a lizard outside. Of course she wanted to SHOW it to me. I went out there and was slammed with the memory of our pastor’s message. I blurted out much too loudly the only thing that came to mind, “Who made the lizard?”
“God did Mom,” she replied and looked at me really strangely. Her expression said “Duh!”
I came back inside laughing at myself. Couldn’t I have done better than that? Oh well, okay, I grabbed my camera and went back out to take a picture. But when she told me she thought it was about to leap out of her hands, I was through! No, all of God’s little creatures I’ll admire from afar. I don’t want them on me; I don’t want to hold them, but I’m glad my kids like them and enjoy them…outside!
I’m linked to Raising Homemakers.
I’m loving the bugs… And I disagree – I don’t think everything needs to be a teaching opportunity. Sometimes I think we just need to chill, and laugh, and love the kids – enough to be learnt in that.
Anri-Louise Oosthuizen says
Aihai! I agree with Robin on this one. Having joy, and being REAL (which in my mind includes “Get that bug out of here!) is teaching as much as the “formal” events. How can there be any life in me trying to tell a kid that a spider is a wonderful creature made by God? Now, if I were to tell her that I will never be able to comprehend God; after all, how did He ever come up with the concept of SPIDERS?! …
I agree too. Having grown up in Central America, I am not too upset at the sight of lizards, bugs, scorpions, even snakes if they are not too close to me. I evidently didn’t do a very good job teaching my children because even my son hates spiders. They all do have a great respect, however, for God’s wisdom and grandeur, so I guess we didn’t do too badly.
Sorry to disagree with you all. I think you assume teaching has to be boring, or pedantic, or unconnected to real life, especially when talking about spiritual things.
But that’s absolutely not true, and I think most homeschoolers realize that. When I used to walk my now 8 year old to playgroup (he was about 3) I named all the animals we saw on our way, and talked about how each one has a special song it sings to G-d.
He took it all in, easily.
I have two foster daughters, and I’ve taught the older one, who is now 6, to pray to G-d whenever she needs help. It was so sweet to hear her the other day asking G-d to help her do better at jumping rope!
It was all so natural for her. I like that she feels G-d is a part of her life.
For children, ALL of these things are equally wonderful and interesting. I really can’t see how anyone wouldn’t share such an important part of your life with your children.
I just think of it as sharing something important with my child. As long as YOU are interested, and not preachy about it, but matter of fact, you’ll be surprised to find that children -especially when they are very young- devour this kind of spiritual nourishment.
It doesn’t take long for kids nowadays to turn cynical and mistrustful. I’m getting it in while I can.
I was obviously a very bad example in my exchange with my daughter, which is why I found it funny. For me in that situation it didn’t come naturally. The point however, I still believe to be right that if we have a Biblical world view then we will be teaching and training our children in the everyday things of life as Rachel has described above. This is discipleship. Many people think that if they take their kids to church or sit down and have a Bible time that is enough and it simply isn’t.
I don’t know much about teaching kids life lessons or when you should do that but if they bring bugs and lizards in my house I am probably most likely to teach them how to scream and run away!!
Although I raised two sons, I was a wimp around bugs, etc. My immediate reaction was to get the thing out of the house! But, I often told our boys that God created them obviously for other people who enjoy them. God knows we’re all unique. So, He created many things for people to enjoy – different things for all kinds of people!
Yes, I agree too about teaching “line upon line, precept upon precept” and when you lie down and when you get up and when you walk down the road–paraphrase of somewhere in the O.T. that I’m too tired to remember the reference of right now. Most of all we teach by example–kids that see their parents read the Bible and love church and talk about God naturally will learn from them.
I too believe that we are always teaching our children. Some of the most teachable moments come by the example we set not necessarily the words we speak! But often God gives us moments to point our kids minds and hearts up to Him, and that is our job to do.
Wow, just love this topic!! I started the community “Natural Child-Rearing”….and I believe it behooves us to use so many more instances in a child’s life to teach them about life!! Life is so different then it was…with more concerns. So, I think it is important to be more aware of “those moments”…so that we can truly equip our kids to live in this world. I’ve seen so many *perfect* teachable moments come and quickly go, that to me it was a shame…as teaching kids some concept when they are in the middle of being able to really understand it…cause they are actually living it…would do more for them then trying to teach them later on, when *out* of that moment…then right then, when they would be most receptive.