My little boys have a Florida State shirt that says
Start ‘em young
Raise ‘em right
Go Gators! We are totally living in a house divided and I can’t help myself but tend to lean towards orange and blue…
As Kade wore this shirt the other day I couldn’t help but wonder why is it that are we raising our children teaching them how to chant our team’s hymn, wearing ‘the colors’, and being proud to be a Nole or Gator or whatever other mascot our team has with a great passion while we teach then about our God in a quiet voice..
Until I had that thought I thought we were doing the right thing. We take our boys to church, read the bible to them, pray with them, tell them to be thankful for what Jesus gave us and pray to hm for everything we or others need. It’s sort of a routine though. Is it the same for you? Praising God and having conversations with him is an internal thing for us. We say our prayers silently in our heads. Not even whispering! In our heads!
I almost want to challenge my husband to silently watch one of his games and see how he feels at the end. Probably, as he never watched the game. With all kinds of feelings stuffed beneath his skin.
Anyway… back to the children.
I think that children are very in tune with God and lose it sometime before they even get to school. We are most likely to blame for that disconnect. They learn everything from us so it’s natural for them to start praying in silence and use God as a ‘help button’ just like we adults do.
Yesterday James and I were talking about Bud and realized how much God speaks through him and how much he shines the light. In the morning I was making a list of items that should be in packs for homeless people and he was so excited to help me. First of all, he made sure I stopped calling them homeless and used his term – outside people. Then he started coming up with ideas of what they may need:
- Mommy if they sleep outside it must be dark – they need a light like the one fireman Sam wears on his head. One with LED lights so it lasts longer (before you ask – yes my son is 2.5 years old and talks like a 90- year old soul! – That’s coming from God, isn’t it?)
- Mommy they can’t have gum. Their toothies hurt. They can have mints like Miss Shasta’s donkeys. Those are soft.
- They need baby wipes so they can clean up.
And the list kept going. He’s 2.5 years old. How in the world does he know what homeless people need!? Unless, the Holy Spirit is shouting the list very loudly in his heart.
He loves to hug his mommy and every time he does, he looks into my eyes and says ‘I love you mommy. I’m thank you for you’. Sometimes he shouts it super loud. ‘ I looooooove you! I’m thaaaaank you for youuuuuuu’. Sometimes he even adds ‘Thank you Jesus for my mommy!’. At 2.5 he knows to look up and say thank you.
And the way he prays. Oh my. He doesn’t pray silently. He shouts on top of his lungs – especially when he gets to the end – he opens his arms wide, looks up and shouts Aaaaaaameeeen! My skin always gets goosies when he does it.
Yes. Toddlers are selfish and unaware of their surroundings. He is just like that as well. But if you watch closely you will see a pure heart when it comes to loving others. You’ll see it in every child. Their hearts are saturated with His presence and love.
At 2.5 he’s more in tune with God then we are with ourselves at age of 30something. He doesn’t have to seek God, he doesn’t have to work on himself, he doesn’t wonder what his purpose is. He has God in his heart and he lives shining that glorious light at loud!
Can you imagine what our children lives would look like if we cultivated that pure Godliness in their hearts as they grow older?
If going to church was to visit their heavenly daddy and not just going to a class.
If we prayed with them in almost an obnoxious way praising God on top our lungs and worshiping Him with every step we take instead of praying silently.
If we encouraged helping others and loving others more than ourselves instead of living a selfish life.
Generation after generation we say that this world is getting worse and worse. You know what? The world is getting worse because generation after generation we silence God a bit more, remove Him from schools and homes, and teach our children to voice their opinions about others as loud as they can but to pray in silence.
20 something years from now when the next generation rules, this world will be as good or as bad as our children will make it. And they will create the world based on what they learn from us multiplied by the silenced worship.
Right now, our children are on their way to change the world for better and they will unless we change their hearts. Sadly, we most likely will. We will snaf out the light that shines through them right now and replace it with disappointment, jealousy, and anger.
And the wars will break.
The deviation of the nations will keep getting bigger.
The brokenness in people souls will keep growing.
The darkness will keep taking over everyone’s hearts.
We start ‘em young and raise‘em right.
Unless we start praying at loud and praising God like everything He did was a touchdown our favorite team scored.
Unless we keep reminding them to love everyone.
Unless we start shining the light for them to mimic.
Unless we let God heal our battered souls and project the healing onto others.
We need to clean up our act and Start ‘em young and raise ‘em right. Loving our heavenly father and each other more than ourselves.