If you have children, then it’s no secret that you, as a Christian parent, should be teaching them who God is. Hopefully, you are reading the Bible with your children and taking advantage of teachable moments where you have opportunity to explain some attribute of God’s character, but that is not all you should be doing. You are God’s image bearer (Genesis 1:26-27), so you should also be showing them who God is. Obviously, it’s not likely you’ll be able to show them God ‘s omnipresence (everywhere at the same time) or omnipotence (all-powerful), but what about his mercy or his faithfulness or his generosity?
Recently, I was convicted about an aspect of God’s character that I had not been showing my children: his attentiveness. With small children, especially, they are in constant need of their parents, and, at the same time, they are extremely curious as they constantly learn new things. As a result, parents hear “Mommy!” and “Daddy!” belted from the backseats of the minivan like a flock of seagulls hovering over a picnic at the beach. With this steady flow of questions and requests, parents often learn how to block out their children. In these cases, we either ignore our children entirely for several minutes or we, in a zombie-like tone of voice, sporadically insert a few key words and phrases we have memorized into our responses so that our kids think we’re listening and we can keep doing what we were doing.
Kids aren’t stupid, they’ll catch on to our ploys soon enough, even if they haven’t already, but regardless, we need to be showing them that God attentively gives his ear to the prayers of his people (Matthew 7:7-11), and he desires us to draw near to him (James 4:8). Parents, how often do you stop what you’re doing when your children ask you a question, turn to them, look them in the eyes and say, “Yes, sweetheart… I’m listening”? I know that kids ask a gazillion questions a day, so it may be that you have to look at them in the eye and tell them that you can talk later, but we should always make sure we seek them out to have that conversation we promised them. Too often there is a disconnect between what we’re teaching our kids about God and how we’re living with them. When your kids come to you, are you communicating in your response that they are an annoyance, a burden… or a delight to your heart, as God’s children are when they come to him?