I saw a quote recently that reminded me of a parenting principle I’d known for a long time, but I think I needed to hear it again. “We can’t teach what we don’t know.”
I’ve got to know and believe something myself before I can help anybody else know and believe it. I realized that this was the secret to making sure that my own children and the children we see at Cornerstone would know and believe the simple messages we’re focusing on this summer.
In Pebble Path the one thing we want our little ones to take with them is that the Bible is better than gold! It’s nothing complicated, and we’re using a fun pirate theme to help them remember this, but as I shared this message with our 3-5 year olds the first week of June, it became clear to me that the world catches us at a young age and begins to make us a bit cynical. I found myself being stared at by about 15 pairs of somewhat doubtful little eyes when I tried to explain that the Bible was better than ice cream, Disney World, or their favorite Spiderman toy. I then had to ask myself if I really even believed that myself in a way that my life showed it. If I want my 3-year-old daughter to value God’s word, I’ve clearly got to do it myself and let her see it. And while it surely is nice to get my morning time reading God’s word done in the peaceful house I have before she’s awake, seeing me soaking in the Word as the first thing I do every morning speaks a whole lot louder than me telling her or having her sing a song in her church class about how the Bible is better than gold. It definitely seems easier to let her fabulous Sunday teachers communicate that message to her in the church context, but if I want her to know that it’s true beyond Sunday morning, I’ve got to be living it visibly every day.
It’s not unlike an experience I had with one of our Rock City kids recently. We’re focusing on Friendship with them this summer and using the idea of musical harmony to better understand what it looks like to treat others the way we want to be treated. I love how we’re looking at a new Bible verse about friendship each week to develop a list of things that friends do, like welcome each other, serve each other, teach each other, and have patience with each other. Again, these are simple concepts, but in our world that tells us to look out primarily for ourselves, it can be so hard (and that’s not just for the kids). Our Camp Cornerstone theme tied in well with this, too, as Jesus is the ultimate friend and embodies this perfectly, so we learned that even when we’re left out, different, or do wrong, Jesus loves us. I had a little girl and her mom approach me one night, though, and they were having a hard time knowing what to do about a boy the little girl knew who bothered her. It became clear to me that even though our whole message for our Camp Cornerstone week was about acceptance, it was nothing but a bunch of words if this little girl couldn’t watch us live it out. Knowing her parents, I believe that she has a wonderful example of what it looks like to love and accept others, but for our kids to know and believe these principles, we have to keep letting them watch us over time, and we have to keep letting ourselves grow too.
So as no surprise, we parents have a tough job. I’m praying this summer that I can truly believe and show that I value the Bible more than gold, that my daughter Avery can see that God’s word means more to me than anything else, and also that I can believe what His Word says about friendship so I can learn to live in better harmony with others, treating them how I want to be treated. For it’s what’s inside of us that flows out and that others, especially our kids, see.
- To see photos of “Weird Animals” at Camp Cornerstone in June, go to Camp Cornerstone.
- Sunday, July 6, there will be only one service at Hamilton Road at 10:30 am. Because we want the whole family there, there will be no childcare or Cornerstone Kids programming. Then stay and fellowship after the service and enjoy a free hot dog lunch. Lee-Scott site will be having family worship as well at 10:30 am with no childcare or children’s programming. Bred Pub site will be worshiping with the Hamilton Road site.
- Promotion Sunday in Cornerstone Kids is August 3. On that Sunday morning, Kindergartners move into Rock City, elementary kids move to their new grade groups, and sixth graders will meet with Youth staff to learn about Cornerstone Youth.
Cornerstone Kids Site Director at Lee-Scott