If you know me, you know I am passionate about a lot of things.
I’m well on my way to reading 20 books in 2019. Last month I finished up “The Good Neighbor,” by Maxwell King. It’s a biography about the life and work of Fred Rogers, who I find incredibly fascinating.
Fred was adamant about producing quality children’s television in a time when many stations were only concerned with what would make them more money. He was a devout Christian, and worked many Christian morals and principles into Mr. Rogers Neighborhood episodes.
Fred studied the Bible, and was even an ordained Presbyterian minister, but he also knew there was value to scientific understanding of the way the brain worked. This led him to rely heavily on the work of child psychiatrist, Dr. McFarland, for input.
One particular paragraph from “The Good Neighbor” really stuck out to me, about the method Dr. McFarland used to teach. When teaching children about art, this is what she did:
“… when McFarland wanted to expose to the little children at the Arsenal Center to the work of a sculptor, she gave these instructions to the artist she invited to her classes: ‘I don’t want you to teach sculpting. All I want you to do is to love clay in front of the children. And that is what he did. He came once a week for a whole term and sat with the four-and-five-year olds as they played, and he ‘loved’ his clay in front of them. The children caught his enthusiasm for it, and that’s what mattered. Like most good things, teaching has to do with honesty.”
As a mom I want each of my children to not only know about Jesus but walk in deep, fulfilling relationship with Him. My desire for them to be rooted in Christ, in this shaky world, is so strong, that I often become overwhelmed at how.
What I think we can all learn from Mr. Rogers, and, of course, Dr. McFarland, is the most effective way we can make the next generation hungry for God is not by more information—but by loving Jesus in front of them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and have realized that loving Jesus in front of my children requires two things:
The truth is I can’t love Jesus, if I don’t first allow Him to love me. 1 John 4:19 tells us that “We love [God], because He first loved us,” meaning our love is simply in response to His. God’s love for me is unfailing and unending, but that doesn’t mean I am always walking in it. Let’s put it this way—If it’s raining in Georgia, but I’m in Tennessee, I’m not going to experience that rain.
God’s love is constantly pouring out on us, but many of us aren’t in a position to receive it. Insecurities, wounds from our past, and consciously walking in sin can keep God’s love from getting in.
Spend some time thinking about God’s infinite love for you. You were worth Jesus to Him.Really let it sink in. And if insecurities, wounds or sin work their way up, deal with them. There is grace for that, my friend.
Abide under the waterfall of God’s love. Let it fill you and restore you. Then, allow that love to pour out onto others, and heap it back on Him.
Here comes the second part— transparency. Transparency is often misunderstood, but it simply means this: walking out my relationship with God in front of them (with discretion).
It means letting them into my good days and my bad. Confessing my need for Jesus to help me with my attitude, or exhaustion. I tell them what I’m praying for, then we celebrate when God answers. In fact, we’ve made celebration a huge part of our life through our tradition called, “Chocolate Milk Cheers.”
For the past month our family has been praying that God would send the perfect family to purchase our home. Last week God answered beyond our wildest imagination. Since we’ve been open with our kids about the need for a buyer, they too got to celebrate God’s goodness when we received our answer.
“We prayed for that!” they squealed, as they remembered sitting in the driveway and talking to God just last Sunday. This weekend we will take time to stop and remember, and add it to our jar of answered prayers.
The only way my kids will know God is a good God—not just a fictional character, or dictator, is by taking time to recognize His constant presence, provision, and care.
What need are you currently praying for, or what has God done in your life this week that you can celebrate?
Kids don’t fall in love with art by memorizing facts, they fall in love by engaging. It’s not about having all the right words, it’s about loving Jesus in front of them.
When they see our enthusiasm, they won’t be able to resist joining in.
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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