It’s the first game we play with our babies, “Peep Eye. I see you!” Or maybe you say “Peek-a-boo. I see you.” Same game. Their response covers the spectrum from coos to hysterical laughter. As they grow a little older they cover their eyes and peer through their fingers. I find it fascinating that young children seem to think if they can’t see you, then you can’t see them. Covering their head or their eyes is enough to make them totally invisible. They think they can pick their nose or eat their candy without you seeing anything if their eyes are covered. They’ll learn one day. And the truth is they do learn. We teach them. We tell them. We show them. Again. And again, until they do. Sometimes patiently. And sometimes, without any patience at all.
With our games we tell them Eye C U
I watched my Jason, you know we have two Jasons. My son is a Jason and my precious son-in-law is a Jason. And yes, it gets confusing at my house sometimes. As I was saying, I watched my Jason and his precious wife Jenny teaching Keira how to climb a fence, which as a grandmother, they will live to regret. It was so precious. Jenny was on one side and Jason was on the other. I’ve seen him use the same process in varying degrees for lots of things as he meticulously trains her for life.
With our training we show them Eye C U
First, he held onto her and gave her specific instructions where to put her feet and where to move her hands next. Up the fence. Over the top. Jenny took over as she climbed down the fence and onto the ground. We clapped while she ran around to the other side of the fence and started up the fence again. This time Jason only held onto her when she needed steadying or reassurance. But he was nearby and he stood with his hands out stretched just incase he was needed. There was a time or two that she clung to the fence and whined for help, but Jason reassured her, instructed her exactly where to put her foot and hands so she wouldn’t fall. And she didn’t. She made it to the top and over and down the fence again. With each climb, she grew more confident.
But what about the things children don’t necessarily want to do—like brushing their teeth? Jenny makes it a game. She calls it “tickling her teeth” and giggles with her while she brushes. Keira takes a turn “tickling teeth”. Then Mommy takes a turn “tickling teeth.” Jenny is teaching her about “sugar bugs”. She plays. She talks. She uses terminology Keri understands. In short little burst that fits her attention span. It’s called “home training”.
With our diligence we model for them Eye C U
Parenting is hard work.
And the job of training isn’t limited to climbing fences and brushing teeth. The role of a parent is to protect, to guide and provide for their children. It’s a big job. It’s a time consuming job, but we do it because we love them and they need it.
But sometimes, important things unintentionally get left off our “Teach My Child” list. I watch parents’ frantic pace trying to juggle work and home and ball practice and homework and rush hour traffic and church…I’m getting tired just thinking about it. I understand that parents are really, really busy these days. I realize that there are so many important things to teach children these days, but still the most important thing they need is to have a relationship with God. In a culture that is constantly changing, children need to be moored to the changeless values of Scripture.
The reality is, when it comes to teaching children about God, that responsibility can fall through the cracks. We wish the school would do it, but they can’t and won’t. We hope the church will do it, but the church’s time is critically limited to once a week. So many parents struggle to find time to teach their kids. They struggle with guilt when they don’t find time and they struggle with the question “what to do?”, when they do fit it into their schedule.
It’s your responsibility to train your children spiritually.
Dinner doesn’t just happen at your house, and neither will spiritual training. Your goal is to help them see that God loves them, that “Eye C U” that I’ve been talking about this week. And to really know Him personally, so they can respond to Him, “Eye C U 2”. I’m sorry if you think it’s corny, but you’ll remember it.
You must deliberately train them with Scripture just like Jason and Jenny taught Keri to climb the fence. Guiding them with your hand on them. Talking to them. Modeling it for them. Instructing them. And finally releasing them to do it on their own. But honestly, it’s not an age thing, that at a certain age, their on their own it’s more a developmental thing.
What can I do?
My first suggestion is pray that your children will have a heart for God. Pray that they will be open to hear what God has to say through Scripture.
And then talk to them about the Bible. Sometimes it will be while you’re in the car or playing at the park.There will be valuable moments that you recognize and seize to teach them principles you’ve learned. Those are important, but you’ll need to be more deliberate. Have some kind of devotion. It doesn’t have to be long, but have it. It is a discipline like brushing your teeth.
What’s for dinner?
It’s a tough question, “What am I gonna cook tonight?” especially for working moms with busy families. Then when you add to the mix the desire and the need to be involved in the spiritual development of your children, hopefully parents are asking the question, “What are we going to do for devotions tonight?” OK, so it won’t be on anybodies top ten question list, but it should be. Knowing what to talk about, that fun, faith building and interesting is a long way toward having a great devotion.
I want to help you with your devotions this month.
I can’t help you with the cooking part, remember I am the “Smoke Alarm Queen”. But this free download answers that question, “what can I do for devotions tonight?” at least for a few days. Let me start with an explanation.
I am always on the lookout for things that children love. I am convinced that using things a child loves is one of the secrets to engaging a child’s interest. Instead of trying to get them to love what I’m doing, I find out what they love and then use it to teach them. It means they teach me first. I am their student then afterwards, I get to share biblical truths with them using the things they love. That’s what I’ve done with the eyeball.
There’s something yucky and fun about eyeballs.
My grandchildren love this eyeball. It really is interesting. It is an eyeball that floats around inside an outer ball. Even when you jiggle it or turn it, it comes back to the top. But not just this particular eyeball, the ones that stick to the wall and tumble down it. Or the kind you put in food or in ice cubes.
So I wrote a few devotions for it. I’ve even given them to adults to remind them that they are the apple of God’s eye or that no matter what they are going through God sees them and cares. I have written 18 ideas for using an eyeball. Some are simply conversation starters. Conversation is a good thing, remember?
These devotions for children can be used at home, in church, Sunday School, Children’s Church, Outreach, Wednesday night programs or anywhere you have kids. Some are simple conversation starters. Others are object lessons. There are even idea starters for Bible Stories.
They are called “Eye Spy” because they use a toy eyeball for an illustration. It’s a little gory for some taste, but most boys and girls love it, especially this time of the year.
Go to your favorite everything is a dollar store and pick up an eyeball or a pack of them to illustrate the devotions or just use the picture on the card.
They are especially cool during the Halloween season, because folks minds seem to go down the gory avenue. You might look for this crazy eyeball at your favorite novelty store. I have a few in stock at . But if you cant find them go to whatever brand of only a dollar store and look for any kind of eyeballs you can find and skip the devotion that needs the wiggly eye. Bring them home and use them with these devotions. Or have eyeball salad for dinner or make an eyeball sub sandwiches (meatballs with olives for eyeballs) or deviled eyes, I mean deviled eggs. Share the devotions right at the table or use them as Chat & Chews when you finish dinner.
- Or take a sheet protector. One of the inexpensive ones and tape it to the back of a cereal box. Put the devotion for the day into the sheet protector so while they eat their breakfast they can read the short devotion instead of the cereal box for the hundredth time.
- Have your child set the table the night before and use them for a place mat under the cereal bowl.
- Put them all on the table and let them read them at their leisure.
- Pull your favorite ideas and make a lesson for Children’s Church for the last Sunday of the month.
- Pull your favorite ideas and make a lesson for Chapel at a Christian School.
- Share them with other moms, grandparents and children’s ministry leaders that you know.
- Grandparents, use them for devotions with your grandchildren these next few weeks.
- Use them for a teaching unit in Home School. Study about the Human eye and add a devotion from the download each day.
- Use them as an outreach.
- Don’t wait for the dinner table, use them in the car, before you turn on the television. Be creative and have fun!
If you don’t have grandchildren will you pray over children, someone at church, your neighborhood or a relative’s child everyday this month. Pray that they will discover God’s love and peace. Pray that they will come to know Him personally so they can say “Eye C U 2”.
If you are a parent, encourage your children to pray that prayer for someone in their class that is struggling.
Here’s a sample.
Resources for Children’s Ministry, Teacher Training and devotions for parents and grandparents that want to Make the Bible Come Alive in children’s hearts.