My son has to read Dan the dragon a bedtime story and then he has to write in Dan's dragon diary. This is the actual reason for his visit. How clever and imaginative of the teacher to use such a simple thing to get a slightly reluctant five year old to read a whole book and fill a page of writing. If my son's teacher can use her imagination to add to his reading and writing skills, how much more should I be using simple every day occurrences to teach my boys the gospel. William Farley, in his book 'Gospel Powered Parenting' suggests that we need to go after our children's hearts, not their environment and that we change their heart by teaching them the gospel. He says that us parents need a clear grasp of the cross and it's implications for daily life.
I discussed this today with some mums that I pray with. We looked at teaching the gospel in every day moments so the children can grasp what Jesus has done for them, and relate it to their world. We looked at a few examples;
- while watching Tarzan where the daddy gorilla jumps in front of Tarzan and takes the bullet instead of his son, I took a minute to have a simple chat about who did that for us. I spoke to the boys about how Jesus rescued us, He took our place. He took the punishment for us. He died on a cross instead of us.
- a child not inviting a friend to church because they are a bit naughty at school, and mum being able to give a sentence to explain that that child needs God in their life.
- a child feeling guilty that they sinned, even after the discipline and restoration had occurred, and pouring soil from a plant around the sink to show the sin, but turning the tap on and washing it wash away, to show the forgiveness.
- a child complaining that getting the smaller piece of cake 'isn't fair' , and reminding them of how selfless Jesus is and attempting to explain that grace 'isn't fair' but it's not fair in our favour. We don't get what we deserve. Sometimes just one line will do it, other times a more detailed chat about it.
I want my boys to grasp the gospel. I want them to know that they deserve punishment for their sin, that they deserve to be separated from God, but that Jesus took that punishment and separation so that they didn't have to. I want them to get this wonderful act of selfless love. So I need to be willing, and creative and take the time to explain this again and again to them.
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."
2 Timothy 4v1-2
* (On a side note, the husband took my son's 'Dan the dragon project' a little further as he alarmingly called us out to the garden because young Dan had set fire to a cardboard box. There it was in the front garden, a cardboard box with a burning corner and only Dan to blame. I'm not sure if the already wild imagination of the five year old knows it was his dad or not!)