Adult Conversations With Little People
Parenting is a doozy!
Over the summer we had some meaningful conversations with our oldest son who is elementary age. Sometimes he would observe something in public and ask a question once we got in the car or at bed time. Other times, we intentionally borrowed books from the library to help us introduce or continue talking about the following topics:
Down Syndrome/Special Needs Friends
Friends who are apart of other cultures
How babies come out
Mental Health & Illness
Stranger Danger/Safe Strangers
MORE importantly we also talked about…
Being loved by God (and family)
The Sanctification Process
Wrestling with how the Bible “matches” our lives (Faith & Applying the Word)
Note: These are the adult words, my words. Sometimes I used other words so that it would make sense. For example: Parenting differences = Friends with different rules i.e. “We have our rules and they have theirs.”
We’ve never done this before, you know, raise a child with a Biblical worldview, but, he has been exposed more and more to "things of this world” from peers, school, commercial/ads, movies, books that aren’t christian but aren’t “bad,” graffiti— I mean, literally, just go for a drive downtown PDX.
Books are a great way to help us communicate adult concepts to little people. (Below are a few of the books we used this summer.) Seriously though, there was one book I could not read without crying. Y’all! I tried!!! 3 times!!! And Boston was there each time. I chose to let him see my sadness about the issue, and he was okay. Each child will respond differently to their parents tears, it’s important we are aware of this fact as we open our hearts for their little minds to process. We can’t give so much information they worry, but we can’t hide and “baby” our children either.
It’s important to us that we raise our kids, rather than just allow them to grow up. This isn’t an easy process but here are a few things I try my best to do:
1.I listen for the still small “go!” from the Holy Spirit. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
2. I follow and wait for my husbands leading of our family and insight into the development of manhood.
3. We eaves drop (yup, you read that right) into our son’s conversations, during play time and any time, listening for an inkling of a lie that he might believe, and I look for the right moment to bring it up.
4. Our conversations are usually at bed time when we are processing our day out loud, or in the car.
5. I try to “plant seeds” of the Bible, compassion, self-learning, hope and courage, by ending our conversations talking about one of these things.
6. Trevin and I pray together with Boston, as a couple, or on our own. We pray that our kiddo will understand that he is loved, that he can ask, say, and think anything he chooses as he grows to love the Lord on his own, and is encouraged to love people without selfish ambition.
7. End any conversations with prayer! Giving these big things back to God will give our kids the language and heart posture for their future.
TIP: When using books, I recommend reading it and looking at all of the pictures before going through it with your child. For example, in one book I used a sharpie to cross out a specific word and I wrote the word we wanted our son to use, to keep it age appropriate for that season. Also, it’s okay to have different books for different kids depending on their age and their level of understanding.
Above all, remember this!
If you don’t have a strong devotional time with your children these conversations should wait, or be very minimal, until you have begun to build a solid foundation of trust in God as your creator and who is the guy who takes care of you, protects you, and is in charge of you.
Let me say this another way.
Put God first! Talk about your God, your Bible, and your faith in good people, more than having other “real” conversations. This will help shape our kids world and their “perception muscle” as they grow to think for themselves.
Our children will copy how we live. Yes, let’s model what it looks like to be growing in awareness, in caring for others, and in taking responsibility for ourselves, but first, let’s model what it looks like to grow in our awareness of God’s love for us as individuals, as men and women of God, as Children of God. When we understand that we are loved, other things will fall into place over time, because we think and act differently.
I agree with you, it is really hard being a parent, especially when we get to have conversations we wish we could hold back for a few more months or years, but YOU CAN DO THIS! Talk slow, in a soft non-aggressive tone, pray first, and high five and hug your kid all the time. Even if you have messed up in the past, start today! You are a great parent and I believe you’ve got this!
P.S. If you found this post to be helpful, would you copy this link and send it to a friend who would benefit? Thank you!
Here is the devotional we are using during the school year to keep things simple as our lives are full, as well as some of the other books we have used with our kiddos.
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