Thinking through the messages we send our children about worshiping God.
My five-year old daughter recently pulled out the small, white Bible she received from church on the day she was dedicated. She opened it lovingly and ran her fingers along the words, moving her mouth like she was reading something precious to her. After a while, she bowed her little head reverently, folded her hands, prayed, and closed the Bible.
Amazed, I asked her about what she’d been doing.
“Reading my Bible like Tina,” she replied innocently.
Reading her Bible like our babysitter? UH OH. My daughter has no idea that I read my Bible. I have a master’s degree in theology and have studied the Bible from the time I was old enough to read, but she wasn’t mimicking me. At this time in my life, I typically read my Bible on my phone or laptop.
There’s a great website called BibleGateway.com that has tons of versions I can study in parallel, plus commentary, and I can even listen to it while I drive. Although I’ve always practiced Bible journaling, the events of the last few years have pushed that to the back burner and when I do write my thoughts down, it’s often in a Word document.
When I was a child, walking through our home at night in the dark was dangerous because it was highly likely that I’d trip over Dad, knelt down in prayer at some random chair. We also spent time together in the evenings as a family reading from a beautiful series of books that illustrated Bible stories and had historical information.
I can’t think of one time in my nearly six years as a parent that my child has stumbled over me praying or found me on my knees. I get on my knees sometimes to pray, but always when no one is around. I read to her from a children’s Bible on occasion, but it isn’t a regular family event.
What am I modeling for my children? I’m a worshipper and they see that in church, but at home I’m afraid they see a mother who has her face in her phone or laptop, reading and typing. They don’t know the difference between social media and studying.
Today I make a commitment to get out my Bible and a journal and put them in a prominent place where my children can see. Even though it’s more convenient to read my Bible, journal, and pray after they go to school, I commit to spend time doing these things in front of them because they need to see it.
As they get older, I plan to teach them the same way my dad taught me. I will ask them to read a chapter in the Bible and write down five things that stood out to them. It started a habit for me of reading and journaling that has been a fairly consistent practice as an adult. I’m thankful for parents who showed me what devotion looks like and took the time to teach me how to discipline myself to know and honor the Lord.
Consider with me what message we’re sending our children. Let’s make a point to model behavior that we want our children to imitate. I’m a big fan of technology, but there’s definitely something to be said for pulling out our Bibles and letting our children be a part of our devotional lives.