Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Bleeding Heart

Never underestimate what your kids are capable of understanding spiritually. Or what they are capable of expressing, given the opportunity. I often wonder if all my training and instruction goes in one ear and out the other when I don't see the daily fruit in their lives. But sometimes, God throws me a bone. :) Let me give you a little context...

I like to spend a lot of time outside with my kids. It makes me happy to share with them my love of God's creation. Some of that time is unstructured and they like to do things like mix together dirt, water, leaves, sticks, and grass to make mud pies, bricks or "salad." Or they like to ride bikes or see how high they can throw balls or pick dandelions or what not. They play best together when they are outside. I tell them, "If you didn't get dirty then you didn't have fun! Now get back out there and have more fun!"

I also like to make our outside play time educational - school should be fun! For now "science class" (I don't call it that) consists of at least least making them familiar with the elements of God's creation in our own yard and community. What things are called, how to identify them, and exploring them with our senses (and maybe a magnifying glass and tweezers). A few weeks ago I'd taken home a library book for myself called "Good Bugs for Your Garden" and was able to interest my oldest in learning about these with me.

I can always spark their interest with a treasure hunt. ;)  "How many different kinds of moss can you find and what do they feel like?" "What do different flowers and leaves smell like?" "Let's count how many butterflies we see today!" Earlier this week we found slugs, earthworms and caterpillars and we've had a pet inch-worm living in a bowl in our kitchen all week. He gets a fresh new leaf daily that we can watch him eat through (and poop out). Such fun - its the first thing the girls check on each morning after they wake up.

So, all that to say my oldest should know the names of many of the plants and animals found in our yard and garden.

Another part of her school day is drawing and writing in a prayer journal. Not only does it give her opportunity to visualize and creatively express what she wants to say to God, but its good writing practice. She's now at the point where she can do this independently; sometimes she needs help spelling words.

Yesterday, I watched her as she sat at the table with her blank journal page open, gazing out the dining room window into the yard. She was thinking about what she wanted to write. Then, all the sudden, she burst out - "Hey Mom! Guess what! Jesus is kind of like a bleeding heart!" And just in case you are not familiar with that plant, here is a picture (I snagged from Google images):

This was the journal entry that followed:

Moms need moments like that. "Aha!" moments like that are what make being her mom and teacher worth every second of the teaching and training. I'm trying my best to cultivate my kids and God is making things grow in their minds and hearts - even when I don't see the fruit for a while.

I'm pretty sure I never would have thought of that. God is love = heart. Jesus shed his blood for us to pay for our sins on the cross. Yes, He is sort of like a bleeding heart.

I'd love to hear some of your stories or "proof" that God is using your best efforts to work in your kids' hearts and minds.

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