Little of lasting value is achieved without planning and hard work.
We meet few fairy godmothers with magic wands in real life.
And yet, we feed our children hours of media presentations of this timeless story. All-powerful beings who show up in just ‘the nick of time’ to rescue plucky heroes or heroines, often with little effort expected from the recipients of this benevolence.
I wonder if we are creating in our children a false set of expectations?
Do our kids liken God to the obedient, all-powerful genie in the bottle? Good for what He gives us, but not someone with Whom we forge a close relationship. What message about God do we send our kids when the activity of praying is relegated to mealtime and bedtime? Do we believe that it’s enough to say thanks to God for food and ask for His protection from whatever darkness may hold – and nothing more?
In our best moments, we admit that this amount of communication does not satisfy God, our children – or us. For example, we long for our kids to share with us what’s happening in their lives. And not just what’s happening but how they are responding or reacting to what happens.
Very young children do this naturally. We’re sometimes overwhelmed with their insistence that we live their lives vicariously. We soon recognize that the habit to let us in, so to speak, best begins in their early years. Like a small seedling, it needs special attention and good nourishment. All too often when we miss this opportunity, we have to reinstate our right to parent later on with painfully deliberate action.
The same is true of experiencing the presence of Jesus. Often, it seems, we catch glimpses of our children’s innate memory of heavenly things. Their biblical heritage is to continue to enjoy consciously and unconsciously the presence of a Heavenly Father, the love of our eternal Advocate, Jesus, and the enabling of the Father’s Gift, the Holy Spirit. This way, prayer becomes a natural conversation, an inter-active, ongoing response to whatever life brings – not just times of crisis but moments of wonder and events that call them to answer with gratitude.
How do you build this into your children’s lives? your own?