The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SPIRITUAL TRAINING: The Intentional Example

Patricia wrapped the baby up in blankets; and with her purse over one arm, her daytimer in her hand, she carried the baby to the car and put little Will into his car seat. Then she came back inside to get Anna and Patrick. Anna had her doll wrapped in blankets, her purse over her arm, and her little “daytimer” in her hand. She was ready to go because she had an example that showed her what “ready” looked like.

The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” is still true. This is why it is so important that we allow our children to see us honor God’s word, pray, worship, and fellowship. These things are “better caught than taught.”

Genesis 1: 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” (according to God’s kind).

Originally, we were created to be Godkind. In Adam’s sin, we became mankind. We reproduce according to our kind. God designed it this way on purpose. We will reproduce in our children the kind of people that we are. Building the patterns and habits that bring spiritual growth in our own lives will sow seeds into our children that bear the same kind of fruit. Because of Christ, we can still reproduce “Godkind.”

I am sure that you have read the following poem, but I have included it anyway. It’s worth having and re-reading on occasion.

Little eyes are watching you

There are little eyes upon you
and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
take in every word you say.

There are little hands all eager
to do anything you do;
And a little boy who's dreaming
of the day he'll be like you.

You're the little fellow's idol,
you're the wisest of the wise.
In his little mind about you
no suspicions ever rise.

He believes in you devoutly,
holds all you say and do;
He will say and do, in your way
when he's grown up just like you.

There's a wide eyed little fellow
who believes you're always right;
and his eyes are always opened,
and he watches day and night.

You are setting an example
every day in all you do;
For the little boy who's waiting
to grow up to be like you.

Gathered tips on setting an example: Betty Longino told me years ago not to place anything on top of the Bible. She said, “You show honor for God’s word by how you treat the Bible physically.” Keep the Bible on top.

When you prepare your tithe, include your child in the process. Take time to explain how you are honoring the Lord by giving 10% of your income. Include him often; let him be there when you give.

Melissa Collins of Mobile told me about how blessed she was to see her children turn to prayer whenever new situations arise for them or the family. I asked her how she taught them to do that. Her answer: "I guess that 's what they have seen us do."

Question for next week: What are ways that you involve your children in the believing community? Church? Activities? People in your home? Let us know. We’ll pass it on.

(To make a comment, simply click on “comments” below; to send this to a friend, click on the envelope.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

SPIRITUAL TRAINING: Teaching your kids to pray

“. . .and God bless Hop-along Cassidy and Topper.” Hop-along Cassidy was an old black and white TV western; Topper was his horse. I was three and my parents were embarrassed. You see, they had invited our pastor to eat dinner with us, and I wanted to say the blessing over the food. Of course, that prayer has become my connection with that pastor even into my adult years. He has never forgotten; years later he chuckled the story to my college friends, much to my lighthearted embarassment. But neither have I forgotten that episode; my parents had encouraged me to pray when I was very young.

As our children grow up, it is the right thing to ask them to pray. In our home, each one had a day of the week that was his or her day to say the blessing over the meal, just part of our routine. There is no substitute for asking God for help. And many times God waits to be asked.

Philippians 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Sometimes our kids turn the tables and teach us to pray. During a particularly stressful time, as a young dad, I was anxious and quite upset about numerous things, trying to figure out what to do, how to get things done. My five-year-old daughter Anna came joyfully into the room carrying her little children’s Bible. “Listen to this, Dad,” she said. “The wicked do not ask God for help. Isn’t that neat?” Then she turned on her happy little heels and left the room. But those words hung in the air, soaking into my spirit, altering my attitude, giving me the word I needed for the moment—pray.

Praying is saying to God, “I need you.” Failing to pray is saying to God, “I don’t need you.” And that is exactly what the wicked say. Which practice are we teaching our children?

Gathered tips on teaching kids to pray: Krista shared this idea in one of our workshops: “We are teaching our two-year-old to pray, ‘As I lay me down to sleep. . . ‘” This is how children learn. . .by rote. Teach them a memorized prayer: “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for this food. Amen.” Bedtimes, mealtimes are easy times to incorporate a short prayer.

Another time to pray is trouble time. Kris and Bob had taught their son to pray when he was in trouble. At age seven, he was in trouble; and as mom (Kris) entered the room, paddle in hand, Josh called out loudly, “DAD, DAD.” Kris said, “Dad’s at work; he can’t hear you.” Without missing a beat, Josh cried out, “JESUS, JESUS.” Kris tried not to laugh but couldn’t help it. Josh watched in wonder as Jesus delivered him from trouble—that time.

Question for next week: Share with us how you have seen your example affect your children and what they do. (Just click the white envelope below.)