One afternoon when Elizabeth was three and Olivia was one, I took them both to get their pictures made to commemorate their recent birthdays. As we were driving to town Elizabeth was ‘reading’ a story to Olivia and Stacy (Stacy the Cabbage Patch Doll went everywhere Elizabeth did). All of a sudden she stopped, smoothed out her skirt with her little hands and said…“You know what I’m going to do when I get to heaven?”
Without waiting for me to answer she continued, “Me and Stacy are going to climb up on Jesus’ lap so he can read us this book.”“That’s nice,” I said. “I bet he’ll like that.”
With that the conversation was over and Elizabeth went back to ‘reading’ to Olivia and Stacy.I’ll never forget the way Elizabeth made her little ‘announcement’. She was excited, matter-of-fact and hopeful all at the same time. I’ll also never forget that for just a split-second I thought, “No! I don’t want you to be thinking about going to heaven yet—you’re just a baby!” As soon as that moment had passed, however, my heart was full. I was thankful and happy to know that even though she was only three, Elizabeth already knew what it was to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Now I know as parents we’re the ones who are supposed to be doing the teaching, but in that brief amount of time Elizabeth was the one doing the teaching. In her unassuming innocence she reminded me that Jesus is someone to turn to rather than be afraid of and that he can be trusted to take care of even the littlest things in life (like reading a book) as well as the big things.Do you let your children teach you? If you really watch and listen you’ll learn when your children’s irritability is a way of saying they need you or don’t feel well instead of just being naughty.
If you really watch and listen you’ll learn when their moodiness is saying they are in trouble or stressed—not just being a troublesome teenager.In my thirty-three years of being a parent, this is only one of many times my children have taught me, rather than me teaching them. As a matter of fact, just about every time I consciously stop to watch and listen, I still learn something from them.
As a parent you can and should be both a teacher and a student. Are you? What will you allow your children to teach you about life today?