(Selected and adapted)
How can you make God real to your toddlers and young children? One way is talk about your awesome God 24/7 as Deuteronomy 6:5-7 commands.
These words urge that God is to be loved and served because we are his creation and that his commands will always be our focus. Once this heart infusion of genuine love of God takes place the result will be that the love for God’s commands will overflow from our mouths and into the lives of our children. This is not mere information transfer. This is being completely focused on God and his commands and that becomes the focal point of conversations with children.
So, what does this have to do with young children, toddlers and infants? In the crush of life it is possible to go hours if not days and not talk about God and how special he is. This is particularly true with the very young, who are not yet engaging in back and forth verbal communication. There must not be huge gaps of time when God is not talked about. If you think this is just an Old Testament concept look at passages like 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:16-17.
It is too easy to forget that there is never even a millisecond when God is not actively caring for you. Indeed, your next breath and your child’s next breath only happen if God makes it so. The wonder of God’s involvement in your life needs to be a “big deal” to you. Engaging in non-stop systematic theological discourse would fall on deaf ears for the very young. However, expressions about the wonder of God should never be far from your heart and your mouth where they are concerned.
Here are some examples:
- Mommy is so thankful to God for you, even when you have a stinky diaper.
- Sweetheart, the sun is so warm and bright, God made it to shine on us.
- I know you are hungry. I am so thankful that God takes care of us and gives us the food we need.
- Before we eat, shall we thank God for the food?
- Look at that turtle with its hard shell! God makes each of his creatures special.
- I know it is raining and we can’t go outside right now, but remember, God sends the rain to make our food grow.
- Aren’t you happy God sends rain? We can play in the puddles later.
- I am so sorry you feel bad. Mommy is praying right now that God will make you feel better.
- Wow, you are learning to use your legs and arms well. It is so wonderful that God made us so that we can use our legs and arms to work together.
- Can you name all the pretty colors in the sky and in the trees and flowers? God is so special to make a world for us to live in!
- Oh, that was dangerous! I am happy you did not fall in. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for taking care of us.
You see, I am not talking about rocket theology here. Nothing is more basic than acknowledging that every second of every minute in your life is given to you by God. This is one way to show the glory of God to your kids. This is a powerful, practical way to make him real!
Let’s give our kids a chance to know God and be thankful for who he is and what he has done in the world (Rom. 1:18-21). Can they learn the same things if you pack them off to daycare every day?