As a mom, there is nothing I want more for my son than for him to grow through life having a secure, consistent and unbreakable relationship with his Lord and Savior, constantly being aware of God’s unfailing love and mercy. I want him to always be humbled by God’s lavish grace and to consistently be repentant for the idols he will set in his own heart. I want him to be generous to the less fortunate because he has experienced the generosity of our Savior first-hand. Of course these are all things I want, hope, and pray for my son, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I hardly come anywhere close to fulfilling these ideals for myself, so I am facing quite a challenge here.
I daily struggle to cultivate my relationship with Christ – a lot of days I am ashamed that my quiet times, prayers, and worship seem like an afterthought as opposed to a priority. I constantly need to be reminded that I am loved and approved through Christ alone and that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more (or less). More often than not, I am forced to reflect upon the idols in my own heart and my lack of generosity, and should ask forgiveness for how I fail at giving glory to God.
As I have started shepherding my young child, I’ve realized that not only do I need daily resources and reminders on how to adequately prepare his heart to be receptive to God’s grace, but I also need daily resources and reminders on how to model God’s love, grace, and mercy in my life as his caretaker. What an incredibly humbling and difficult task we are given as parents!
Thankfully, I have located some wonderful resources to help us teach our children and to guide us as Christian parents. My goal is to pass along what I have found to help all of you out there who are also looking to shepherd your children Biblically. However, I’ve also discovered that there are many resources I really “wanted” for my son that I just could not find out on the market.
Specifically, I wanted resources that did more than simply “tell” Bible stories in children’s language. I wanted resources that did more than “state” the truths that “God Made You,” “Jesus Loves You,” etc. I wanted resources that helped me show my son how to “experience” God’s presence in everything around him. As my son was learning his body parts, I wanted him to marvel that God made each and every part of him. As he was learning about various shapes, I wanted him to bask in the wonder that God shaped our entire world. As he was learning the different types of fruit, I wanted him to also grasp the concept of “spiritual fruit,” or “fruit of the Spirit.” And so on…
I realized that my son (and children in general) are able to grasp way more than we throw at them in the early years. It is recommended to introduce your children to music, additional languages, art, and so on in the first years of life because this is when children learn the best. Synapses in the brain are formed at a faster rate during the first three years of life than at any other time. One day it “clicked” with me that my son was able to read words, learn words from more than one language, and memorize lengthy verses (such as the Lord’s prayer) before his third birthday. If he was able to do all this before his third birthday, then I knew he also had a greater capacity for grasping the gospel and for understanding God than what many current resources delivered. I’ve developed a few products to point to God/the “Word” in the day-to-day of a young child’s life. These items be found under the “The SMC Shop” tab of this website. I’m currently in the process of developing more tools – such as “The Armor of God” Scripture and Prayer Cards, a “God Made Me” Video, a Family Prayer Journal, etc. Anything I find useful in shepherding my own son, I’ll try my best to pass along to all of you!
There is a quote I love by Charlotte Mason that summarizes the type of education I long to show my son: “This idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God – we do not merely give a religious education because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education, for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of an intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.”
All of the resources I am attempting to develop are tools that I hope will aid you in pointing your children to “personal knowledge of an intimacy with God.” I want these tools to aid you in encouraging your child to develop his or her own devotional life at an early age, so that when your child grows he or she will have a balanced spiritual life – one that is not only filled with “head knowledge” of Bible stories and memory verses, but one that also experiences, hears, see, reveres, and worships God in the day-to-day. I want you to help your child see the gospel in everything!
As stated by Tim Keller in the foreword to Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, “Why has so little attention ever been given to the devotional lives of children?”
“…Encouraging a child to develop his or her own devotional life has long been a missing piece that has direct effect on whether a child grows up with a balanced spiritual life or one that is dangerously one sided.”
“Somehow…the experiential side of a relationship with God is often neglected, so that by the time the children are teens, they are woefully lopsided – long on information, but short on experience of God’s presence.”
I certainly hope this website, the learning tools already available, and the videos/tools currently in the development stage will help your young children “experience God’s presence” as they are making sense out of the world around them.
Thank you for your patience as this website is a constant work-in-process! If you have any suggestions or ideas for either the website or the videos/learning tools (perhaps things you also wished were out on the market for your young one(s)), please feel free to pass along to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. We all learn from each other! Thank God for Christian community – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will as a godly parent and a shepherd of your children, and may He work in us and through us to help draw the hearts of our children to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.