Raising Kids Who Know Jesus Takes More than Bedtime Prayers
Do you ever feel seized by the fear that you’re not doing enough to raise kids who know Jesus?
I’m sure this has been an issue mothers have struggled with for millennia, but social media gives modern mamas a new photographic reminder of the ways we need to raise our kids better.
As we scroll through the beautiful photos with perfect children, our internal critic runs an unhelpful commentary:
“Are you enriching your homeschool curriculum with supplemental readings of Pilgrim’s Progress?”
“Your three year old won’t sit through the Classics? That’s too bad.”
“You’re not homeschooling?!”
Are you sweating?! I wrote these questions and still answered “no” to every one. But isn’t this what it feels like to scroll your social media feeds, convinced you are an outlier in a world of filtered, perfect parenthood?
If we don’t want to drown in an ocean of comparison and to-do lists, we need to check our priorities. Because if we aren’t careful, raising kids in a Christ-centered home can become one more box to check. One more way for us to feel like productive moms. But raising kids who understand Jesus isn’t “another thing,”—it is our entire calling as Christian moms.
Deuteronomy 6 commands parents to love the Lord with all of our hearts, souls and might; and to teach our kids diligently to do the same. Parents are instructed to talk to their children about God when we sit in our house and when we go for walks, when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Bedtime prayers are great, but God calls us to something much bigger as we raise our littlest treasures.
But we cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot pass along what we do not have.
And in that vein, the way to introduce our kids Jesus is simple: get to know Him, and tell your kids what you know.
It would be the same for any other person. We can’t introduce our kids to a celebrity we’ve never met. But if my husband and I had a famous and generous BFF, we would be excited to introduce our kids. If that famous person had sacrificed time and effort to save our lives, you’d better believe we would speak highly of him in our house. I would look forward to sharing all of the ways he had helped our family, everything he had done for the world.
And yet, somehow we over-complicate this truth when it comes to teaching our kids about God.
It turns out that faithful mothering is less about checking off a zillion to-do’s, and more about simply sharing what we know about Jesus with our kids. Walking the walk, and then talking the talk. Simple. Not easy, but simple.
As we faithfully read His word, drawing near, laying our preferences down in pursuit of obedience, our kids watch. As we humble ourselves enough to apologize, share victories and gratitude for grace—we tell our kids about it. We model the fruits of the Spirit.
The old adage suggests that more of our parenting is caught than taught. The best way to raise kids who know and love Jesus—is for us to know and love Jesus. Sometimes that will look like reading the Jesus Storybook Bible on the lawn. Sometimes it will be making up hand motions to memory verses. Sometimes it will mean apologizing for yelling, and other times it will mean retreating for some quiet prayer and solitude.
But the best part about anchoring our motherhood in faith, is that it truly is the most restful space for our heads and hearts. God knows what He is doing when He calls us to Himself. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Weary? Burdened? Sounds like Jesus is calling out to the mamas. Seek Him today, friend. The rest of the mothering madness will find its place when we anchor our hearts in Him.
Molly DeFrank is a mom and foster mom to five kids under ten. She writes about faith and motherhood—the hilarious and the hard; the fun and the maddening; the beauty and the blunders. She loves to share encouragement and laughter with women just like her. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, or her website, www.mollydefrank.com.