We had fifteen minutes before the bus rolled up, and I was busy flipping pancakes.
“Do you have your lunch? Backpack? Shoes on?”
The kids were abuzz with chatter, awaiting a plate of soft, syrupy goodness. I brimmed with gratitude at the morning sunlight and cheery children. (It helped that no one was arguing.)
I felt a nudge to use the time well, so after I poured out a scoop of batter, I grabbed my Bible and flipped to Proverbs. My eyes scanned for one I’d underlined over the years.
“Okay kids, we’re going to memorize a Proverb this morning. Proverb 10:12 says, ‘Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.’ “
We discussed a hypothetical situation: walking into a room to find a little sibling has taken your Lego set without permission and is currently renovating the spaceship you spent an hour creating.
“You have two choices,” I said. “you could throw a fit of hatred like this-” (I threw a fit. It looked ridiculous.) “Or, you could take a deep breath. You could calmly tell your brother how disappointed you are to see your hard work ruined. ‘I know you’re great at Lego, but before you use mine, can you please ask permission? Let’s rebuild the original together, and then maybe we can make our own creation!'”
I asked the kids to describe what the scene would look like after throwing a fit. Then I asked what the scene would look like after a loving response.
They shared examples from their real lives of hateful, selfish or grumpy responses that caused problems. Then they shared about a time when a loving response or attitude helped to fix a situation that could have become explosive.
We memorized the proverb together. The kids giggled while coming up with hand motions to each word. By the time we were done, each of the kiddos—ages four, ten and eleven—had the verse memorized and knew what it meant.
The entire conversation took us seven or eight minutes.
My four-year-old still proclaims this verse loudly and randomly. And even though sometimes he says “transpressions,” I’m grateful that his little heart is trying.
Remember: Nehemiah rebuilt that wall one brick at a time. He was called by God to fulfill an enormous mission. And he did so faithfully, one day, one brick at a time.
We mamas have been called by God to train up our children in the way they should go. To teach them about God all of the time. His law, His love, His patience and justice. On a bad day, we overcomplicate our mission. We feel overwhelmed, in need of a curriculum or a perfect song or speech. But the truth is that God’s Word and a humbly submitted and obedient heart is all we need to shepherd our kids well. If you have five minutes and access to a Bible, you can disciple your kids today.
Chuck Swindoll said that a phenomenal leader is simply someone who is “ordinary, but highly motivated.” Have you ever felt a weightier calling than teaching your child about the God who came down to make a way between our sin and His perfection? Never have I been so motivated to do anything, than to introduce my beloved tinies to the One who puts breath in their lungs and fills the oceans.
As the Cheerios clank into a bowl, as you scramble those eggs, as you flip another pancake—in the plainness of your ordinary morning, your motivated mama heart and a Bible is all you need to disciple your kids.
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.