05 May Walking By the Way
A few days ago, amid the run-around of our four kids outside, some movement in the grass caught my eye. Strutting through the yard was a mother duck and a parade of 11 tiny ducklings. I suppose their stroll was taking them toward the neighborhood pond, but it was a funny sight, seeing a dozen ducks moving through the subdivision. The mom moved slowly down the fence line, and the ducklings didn’t stray from following directly behind her.
A mama duck’s job is simple and straightforward. Her ducklings’ basic needs are few, but necessary for survival. They follow their mom and figure it out. Our job as human mothers extends beyond the basic needs of a duck.
A mother duck doesn’t shuffle her kids to sports, music lessons, ballet, and swimming lessons (well, yes to that last one!). These activities may be fun, edifying, or useful but whether we work outside the home or stay home, send our kids to school or school them at home in or out of a quarantine, our primary job is to disciple our children. Pray over and with them. Live as an in-the-flesh example of Christ’s love, forgiveness, self-discipline, and grace. Read chunky, board-book Bibles, children’s Bibles taped together from toddler handling, and especially the real, red-letter thing.
The apostle Paul wrote from prison, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17,ESV, emphasis added).
OK, great. So now you need to go look up a thousand ways to get your kids acquainted with the Bible so they can be complete. Just kidding! You certainly can. But all you really need is a Bible. Have I been helped by a biblically informed resource, be it a book or a person? Absolutely. But compared to your kids, YOU are a biblically informed resource!
Where do we start?
My son has requested the children’s Bible version of David and Goliath hundreds of times, and he is not yet 3. Those stories are memorable, and we are going to keep reading them, over and over. But I want to put the actual, word-by-word Word of God upon their hearts.
My sister-in-law had her kids memorize Isaiah 40. Yes, the entire chapter. I was more awed than shamed; I was inspired. Her oldest kids just turned 6 and 4! Some may scoff: They can’t understand all those ideas! Folks, we must remember: It’s not Shakespeare. It’s the “living and active” words of our Father (see Hebrews 4:12).
Our family did not start with Isaiah 40, but we have started memorizing in greater earnest, continuing the groundwork laid by Bible reading and Sunday school and “How long is God?” discussions. I want God’s transformative power to be at work in them. I can’t decide for my kids whether they will someday choose Christ, yet I can lay a foundation. And whether they choose to follow Him or stray, His words – ever so much more powerful than mine – will be in their hearts.
Maybe you’re thinking, I want to, but I don’t have time right now! I understand 100 percent the struggle to get in the Word and be in prayer throughout the day with young children. But if we’re teaching them the Word, we get an added bonus: WE ARE IN THE WORD! Bingo! As fellow Legacy mom said at a women’s retreat a few months ago, reading your kids the Bible “counts” as time you get to spend in the Word.
The mother to 11 ducklings wasn’t quacking as she walked. God didn’t tell her to have His word always in her mouth and laid up in her heart. He told that to us. When you clip your 4-year-old’s fingernails, when you have dinner with your teenagers, when you are shampooing the 2-year-old’s hair, when you are on a walk and seeing His creation, when you are doing absolutely anything at all.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, ESV).
Megan Schulte is wife to Peter and mom to kids aged 6, 4, 2, and 6 months.