Our children are blessed to have many fabulous things to take part in at school, church, and in the community. When we as parents want to help them hone their skills, we hire coaches, music instructors, tutors, and other specialists. Don’t get me wrong, all are good! (Scott and I are in the same boat. I could never teach my children to play an instrument like their gifted teachers!) We want our children to succeed so we “farm out” these areas to the people who can teach them better than we can. The problem is we’ve allowed faith education to fall to others as well. We assume our pastors and lay leaders will instruct our kids in all they need to know about the Bible when it’s our responsibility to be the spiritual leaders in the home. Truly, kids cannot learn enough on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, 150 minutes a week, to instill a solid faith foundation. It needs to be a daily occurrence with mom and dad in the lead.
We can take our cue from the Bible. Jesus instructs Peter in three little words, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). Peter is first fed himself, both spiritually from being with Jesus and physically by eating. Then Jesus asks Peter to feed his lambs, the little ones. In the next two verses, Jesus tells Peter to feed is sheep, the older ones. In my mind this has great implications for parents and really all followers of Jesus Christ. We are to nourish ourselves in the Word, then feed the little lambs, our children. Immersing ourselves in the Word of God daily will prepare us to lead our children in faith. Parents who make their own quiet time a priority, take part in Bible studies, parenting classes, book clubs focusing on biblically based parenting strategies, and other spiritual growth opportunities are better equipped to lead.
Last Saturday I spoke at a parenting conference in Helena, Montana. To see parents engaging with one another and building community with those who share their values was beautiful. But more encouraging was the fact that these parents came to learn to feed their lambs. Their desire is to raise children who love the Lord. The teacher in me delights in watching eyes light up with understanding, hands jotting down a note on a handout, and listening to active discussions. The mom in me is humbled to be able to advise and pray with moms and dads. This was hands on kingdom work for everyone in the room, sharing and learning from one another how to feed those little lambs God has entrusted in our care. (The sidebar photo was taken alongside US 12, west of Helena.)
I encourage you to continue on or get started in feeding your lambs the Word of God. The Lord will bless your efforts abundantly!
What are some ways you can nourish yourself spiritually so you’re better equipped to feed your lambs?
This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
By Becky Danielson, Christian wife, mom, licensed parent and family educator, and the co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. You can find her on the new website, FaithFirstParent.com. She writes for Hooray for Family, an online and print magazine and facilitates the Parent and Family Education program at a Christian preschool in the Twin Cities. Her best tactic for feeding her lambs when they were young was Bible study served with a hot breakfast to feed souls and fill hungry tummies.
Becky is also the co-author with Lori Wildenberg of Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. both with Study Guides. Contact Becky to schedule a workshop or retreat for your church or group.