Parents make the best teachers!
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Back story: My husband is a youth minister at a small-ish church in Texas. Baby D is usually the only one in his Bible class, which is 0-2. Captain Fussybuckets is the next youngest in his class by a couple of years. We need more little kids, but that’s beside the point!
So, I go to drop off the boys at their Bible classes and find that Baby D’s teacher is not there and there’s no one to sub for her. Having taught Bible class to 1′s and 2′s many years during college and even after, it was no big deal. I sat him in the chair that’s attached to the table and sat across from him. Then I just sat there. uhhhh….. Yeah. When I taught before, there was a cute little curriculum with toys to go along with it and songs to sing. I couldn’t find the curriculum (I found it afterwards, of course..) and I just stared at my son for a few seconds. Why couldn’t I find the words? He’s 10 months old, I’m his mommy, he listens to me, but I still couldn’t find anything to say. I’m with the kid all day long. But then I thought to myself….how often do I just SIT and TALK to him? Sure, he doesn’t talk, but I know he understands some things. And if I never talk to him, how is he supposed to learn? I think the 2 1/2 year old in the house is definitely a distraction, and Baby D’s laid-back-ness works against him at times.
I went on to get out some animal toys and sing “Jesus Loves Me” and random songs about God and animals that I remembered from teaching Bible class before. He just laughed at me and chewed on the toys. It all came back to me pretty quickly and we had a fun time. I’m glad I got to be his teacher tonight.
But back to the other random thought….how often do I sit with my boys and teach them? Sure, we play blocks, play-doh, go to the park, sing songs together, but how often am I teaching them stuff I know, whether it be about God, the Bible, how stuff works, or just about life in general. These boys are sponges and they want to learn.
My husband shared with me a statistic he learned at a conference lately: 90% of homeschooled students take on the faith of their parents. Wow. Obviously there are many opportunities for learning about your parents’ faith when you are homeschooled. Am I saying that we all should homeschool our kids? No, it’s not for everyone. But my whole point is that we are our children’s greatest and first teachers. They want to learn from us and hear what we know and believe. I am guilty of sending my kids to Bible class and expecting them to learn everything they need to know there. (yes, in two 45 minute classes a week! yeah right!) They do learn a lot, but there’s a TON to learn! When I send my kids to preschool, does my teaching at home end? No way! If you’ve ever been a teacher, you know how crazy this sounds. When I taught kindergarten, there was honestly not enough time in a day to teach all that those kids needed to know!
Now, I’m not going to sit down and lecture my 10 month old about how God made the world and how 2+2=4. No, I’ll just expand on what I currently do….talk to them as they play, take time to answer questions thoughtfully and meaningfully, and grab a hold of every single teachable moment and don’t let it fall by the wayside because it’s bedtime, Brother needs a bath, yadda yadda yadda. Because I’m finding out that these little boogers grow WAY too fast and life can’t be spent waiting for church or school to roll around so they can learn something.
p.s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much a work in progress! This was just a pep talk for MYSELF!
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Gena is the mom of three boys, ages 5, 3, and brand new! She is the wife of a great man, a Christian, blogger, and former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom. They live in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Texas area.