My four boys are spread out from age seventeen, down to six. It kind of blows my mind to realize that this year I am homeschooling one in his first year of grade school, and one in his last year of high school! And though there are many wonderful things about having four kids spread over ten-plus years, one of my favorites is that my older boys inspire me to train the youngest well.
To not grow weary. To press on.
Of course I had a lot more energy and focus when my first three were little, and I’m the first to confess my youngest hasn’t received quite the same attention that my first three did. I’m busier now doing things I wasn’t doing then, and also: he’s got three big brothers to help! I depend on them to help raise him in many ways. (and I’m so glad for that!)
Yet, I am often reminded that as his mom, I must keep focusing in on this little guy’s heart. I know that it matters, because I see it every single day in my older boys…
When I wake up to find my seventeen year old sitting out on the deck reading his Bible…not because anyone told him to, but because he wants to…I remember that the habit of daily devotions began snuggled up with me when he was just a little boy.
When I hear my middle son encourage his brother, quoting from the Word of God, I recall his daddy teaching him those very verses, when he was just a preschooler.
When I hear my third son pray for his unsaved friends, I know that the seeds that were planted years ago are bearing fruit.
Those early years really, REALLY matter.
So as I sip my coffee and finish my own morning devotions, my youngest comes out of his room to join me. Wiping sleep from his eyes, (here in Hawaii we call that makapiapia –if you’d like a fun new Hawaiian word to share with your family! :)) the little guy curls up next to me. His soft, blond hair is irresistible against my arm, and I hold him close. Yet, I have writing to do, and a busy day ahead. So for a moment I nearly hop up, suggesting his brothers get him breakfast, so that I sneak away to to get some work done.
But I think twice then, knowing (like, first hand knowing!) that these years are so short. The work can wait. This moment matters.
Then I grab his devotional, and together we look at God’s Word. I review the verse we learned yesterday: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) At first he just stares at it, too sleepy to respond. Then I talk about what it is to be a neighbor, and how can we love our neighbors? And soon he is sitting up a bit, telling me about the boy he met at soccer, who “definitely needs to know Jesus” and we stop to pray for that boy. Then I read the verse again, and this time I hear my son’s soft morning voice join me.
That was only five minutes, yet it was everything. Because a daily habit like starting the day with Jesus can last a lifetime. And yes our day will get busy, and no I won’t parent him just like I did his brothers, but I do know that God’s Word is beginning to be hidden in that little six-year-old heart. And that gives me hope that one day I might find him in the early morning hours spending time alone with Jesus. Because it is a part of who he is.
Looking for devotionals to share with your kiddo? The Minno 5 Minute Family Devotional Plan – Jesus: Messiah, Teacher, and King will help you walk your kids through the life of Jesus with short video clips, weekly memory verses, discussions questions, and daily activities! Also check out these 5 ideas for grow your kid’s faith in 5 minutes a day.