Children live in the present moment, and as such are the beautiful and unexpected bearers of faith. While we parents strive to share our faith with them by teaching them to pray, reading the Bible to them, or taking them to Sunday school, they in turn teach us grace, patience, love, and how to live in the fullness of the moment. While our minds dwell in the past or the future, our children demand that we join them in the present.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—the qualities that tell us that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. My infant daughters brought these qualities out in me in ways I could never have achieved on my own. As they grew, they also taught me about unconditional love, forgiveness, and the power of turning to God when I didn’t know where else to turn.
Before we had children, my husband and I often enjoyed the zoo. We were avid learners as we went through the exhibits, reading all the signs, and learning the habits of the animals. When our daughters arrived, however, they took going to the zoo to a whole new level.
One day as we started down the tropics trail, my toddler became fascinated with a turtle that was just at her eye level. Captivated, she stopped and pointed out the beautiful markings on its shell, the way its legs moved one by one to climb up a slanted branch, and the way that its eyes rarely blinked or moved. We sat together, simply amazed at the uniqueness of this creature. When I looked at my watch, I realized we had been sitting there for 45 minutes! No wonder my legs were stiff. My daughter had taught me far more about the turtle than I had ever noticed before; and had heightened my own appreciation of God’s amazing creation.
Usually, our children must conform to our schedules. But take the opportunity now and then this Lent to live into their schedule, their sense of time and attention, and be opened to the mysteries of God in the present moment. Enter in their first-time adventures. Listen and respond to their questions with genuine interest and enthusiasm. When you do this, they may still stump you with their questions, but perhaps you may also enter into your own spiritual journey in a renewed way.
Dawn Alitz is a mother, wife, theologian, scholar, ministry practitioner, college professor, and musician. On any given day she fulfills those roles in various ways.
VF @ Home Login
Vibrant Faith @ Home is a service of
Need Help? Contact Leif Kehrwald, VF@Home Team Leader