One thing that I have purposed in my heart to start doing more is including my kids in everyday tasks that I do around the house. My tendency, as I know is the same for many parents, is to let their kids do their own thing, because they can get in the way as well as slow us down from getting things clean and taken care of around the house. While I believe it is important to teach our kids to play independently and to entertain themselves, I believe it is even more important to include them and cultivate in them a love for helping out. And yes, they will slow us down and distract us, but I’ve noticed a couple things change as I have changed my approach to parenting them.
First, our home has so much more joy and peace in it. My kids are happy, because I am involving them more and spending more one on one time with them, and I am happy because their happiness affects my mood, and I enjoy bringing them joy. I’ve noticed, especially in Caleb that his sense of self worth has increased. He is so proud of himself when he is able to help me set the table, dusk a shelf, unpack the dishwasher or whisk eggs, which is his new favorite thing to do. Not that I didn’t let him do any of these exciting things before. I am just including him more in being my little helper. He is also learning simple tasks, which will benefit me more in the future when he can do things more independently. Since he is only two and a half, he needs much guidance and assistance.
I am also including them in my time with Jesus. While I believe it is very important to spend time alone with the Lord, I believe it is also important for children to be taught to pray by watching and listening to their parents or others pray. We’ve been spending a half an hour of prayer together in the morning right after breakfast. It helps me focus my attention on Jesus early in the morning and dedicate the day to Him, and is especially needed when I don’t wake up before my kids to have my own quiet time. They normally play as I pace around my dining room table. Caleb will occasionally join in by repeating the names of the people I say or by saying the occasional “Jesus” and “Yes Lord,” and then he sometimes says his own prayer in his own way which is so precious.
The more I think about this concept of including my kids, I can’t help but think about how Jesus has included me into His plan. God didn’t have to create the earth and humans to inhabit it, but He desired to have relationship with the ones He formed even from the beginning of time. Revelation 4:11- … “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (KJV). He could have created cosmic marshmallows and just kicked them around for all of eternity (my husband’s great insight on this matter). God thought up the idea of prayer, because He yearns for a deeper relationship with us. When we pray, we are actually talking to God, and God then answers our prayers when we ask in relation to His will. The Bible is written by God to us so we can know what is in His heart and get to know Him just like I desire my husband and kids to understand my heart. Best of all, He desires to be with us and include us in His plan for all eternity – that is why He sent Jesus! So, I encourage you to seek ways of including your kids throughout the day and to seek ways of including God in your life as well.