Peace, Love, and Coffee

I was cheerfully strolling the aisles of a local grocery store with my 2 ½-year old son, Ayrton. Actually it was more like a mad dash to collect the items I needed without a meltdown or idiotic purchase of candy and/or junk food. We were headed down the drink aisle where Ayrton noticed chocolate milk.

He said, “Mmmm. Mom, I LOVE chocolate milk. What do you love?”

Me: “Well, I love you!”

Ayrton: “No, Mom, you love coffee.”

We had a good laugh and I didn’t think much about the conversation until days later when I was finally alone with my thoughts. I started thinking about what I place importance on and how to show my son what should be important to him as well. I was startled by the thought that maybe, just maybe, I’m giving him the wrong idea about where to find solace and comfort. Am I showing him that my strength comes from a cup pot of coffee? How do I show him that my strength, peace, and encouragement comes from the Lord and nothing else? Can I even explain to my son the exhilaration I feel when I simply pick up my Bible? How in the world can I make sure he understands that everything in life will fail him except Christ? These are really deep questions and I started getting nervous! I had to come up with a plan to undo the Coffee Love and emphasize the God Love.

While trying to answer these questions for myself I have learned a few things. First, get excited about attending church. Find one that feels comfortable for you and your family and get involved. Don’t complain about getting up early for church or wearing fancy clothes. (Last time I checked, children under the age of 12 arise before dawn so you’re up anyway, right?) Your child will totally sense your tone and attitude and mimic that. When you think about how fortunate we are to worship so freely in our country with a multitude of church and service times to choose from, we should never complain.

Second, share Bible verses with your child. Explain to your child how the verse helps you and then how it can help them. Even young children can memorize Scripture. It takes a lot of patience, repetition and pictures. I usually cut out pictures from magazines or my computer to help Ayrton understand the verse. He then arranges the pictures to follow along with the verse. He basically fills in the blank with pictures instead of words. This has become a fun game for both of us.

Third, make a habit of reading your Bible in front of your children. This can be tricky and I usually get through about 2.5 verses before I have to stop BUT the point is that they see you holding your Bible and engaging in it. Actions speak louder than words so if your child never sees you reading your Bible that will really impact them.

Fourth, buy your child a Bible. There are Bibles available for every age so buy one that is appropriate for your child. They even make ones that are geared for boys or girls. This will be such a great investment. My son loves to read so after reading numerous books about trucks and diggers then he gets to pick a Bible story. (Note the wording here. He gets to pick, not he has to pick. I always try to make it exciting and he thinks he gets to stay up later to read his Bible because it’s so special.) So each night we read a Bible story together.

Lastly, pray frequently with your child. My son struggles with being gentle at times so when he’s having a particularly rough day, we stop what we’re doing and say a prayer. I remind him that God is always with us and will help us to make good choices. Teach your child to pray and help them to understand that they can talk to God any time they want.

It definitely takes practice as well as a determined effort to employ these methods into your everyday life. It is an effort worth making and it will pay off. Hopefully after employing all these methods for a while, Ayrton will say, “Mom, you love God!” I guess I’ll have to stop hugging my coffee maker and start hugging my Bible instead.

By Meghan Zeile

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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