Barbie dolls, dogs and ice-cream

Children parents and modeling Biblical Christian Scriptural living

My youngest is Kathryn, she’s now three and full of beans.

Joshua, the spiritual giant, once said, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” In my house we practice this in a number of ways. One example is that we give thanks for the food before each meal.

About a year ago, when I called the kids and Liezl to close their eyes, the youngest, all of three years then, spontaniously burst into praise. Ever since and with each meal she thanks God for everything from her mommy and daddy to all the birds in the sky and once even for ice-cream in general.

Her prayers aren’t always theologically correct, they follow no form or dogma and neither Liezl nor I have any indication that she understands salvation in any meaningful way yet we allow her to continue, unhindered, unrestrained, before every meal. And this is why: I get to offer thanks straight after her. I thank God for His provision, acknowledge Him as our creator and sustainer and ask Him for His mercy and grace as we live out our lives to His purpose and glory. Every night for a year I’ve patterned prayer before her, her older sister and Liezl. And guess what? It’s working. She really is growing in her understanding of who God is and how we correctly and appropriately relate to Him.

Last night something happened out of the ordinary. After Kathryn had rattled off her thanks for dogs and her Barbie’s and all manner of other things and said, “Amen”, Kaitlyn, her older sister, now six, took up the prayer. It’s the first time that she’s spontaniously prayed and my heart soared, I mean it really soared, it almost jumped out my chest. As our children grow before my eyes my prayer for them is that God would do a work in their heart, convict them of their sin and convince them of their need for a savior, that they’d put their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation and that we’d be united for eternity together with Him.

I’ve been reading through Ephesians 5 and 6 this week. Ephesians 6:4 patterns Christian parenting and is relevant to this post:

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

How do you pattern Christian living to your kids? Is this important to you? What other useful ideas do you have? What other useful verses spring to mind for you? If you found value in this article go and check out Science and Religion. It’s the first post I ever made and I love it.


9 thoughts on “Barbie dolls, dogs and ice-cream

  1. Well done Mark for setting such a wonderful example. Children have a wonderful way of bringing us closer to the Father. You taught me when you were little and continue to. x x

  2. Brilliant Stuff Mark!

    I too find my kids wanting to pray for everything. My wife told me yesterday that the 4 yr old twins were praying all day out of the blue. The funny thing is they were praying their bedtime prayer all day!

    I take it they must have been tired all day long lol.

  3. Maybe a caveat to this article?

    Over the holidays I read a book titled The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. It was an interesting read and I should post a review/critique at some stage.

    One (of many) things he said that caught my breath and left me shaking my head was that the disciplines of fasting, prayer and such like was beneficial to Christians and non Christians alike. That’s nonsense. Prayer needs to be conducted in a way that is appropriate and God honoring. It is part of a relationship with God not some kind of wishy washy intellectual exercise.

    Us allowing Kathryn to pray is part of modeling prayer to her which is my and her mothers responsibility as Christian parents. I don’t know if that came across clearly enough in the article.

  4. Mark you as clear as one could be. And yes I agree that the desciplines of fasting, prayer and others are not equally beneficial to Christians and non-Christians alike.

    Thats the kind of message you get when someone is trying to boost their own ego by interpreting the Bible in a way that makes them feel good about themselves.

    I say go ahead with the review. I’d like to read it…

  5. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings
    Thou hast perfected praise.

    Even though Kathryn’s prayers started spontaneously, you have set the pattern of including them in the family devotions. This is part of the role you are meant to play as the priest in your household.

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