If you've ever studied anything about child development, you know that children learn a LOT in their first few years of life. Like, EVERYTHING. They learn your language (more if you speak more than one!), manners, acceptable behaviours, consequences, toilet training, how to feed themselves, and dress themselves, and groom themselves, colours, nature, weather, navigating social situations, and a kazillion other things.
I remember Mum always saying to me that she wanted us to know more than anything else in those first few years that we were loved. That we are children of God, who loves us, and that Mum and Dad loved us. I guess it works, cause I think I've known those things my whole life!! And I honestly think they were among the first things Maggie knew too.
Anyway, lately at church we've had 2 Sunday School lessons about family scripture reading. A lot of the time it's hard to get the family together every single day to read the scriptures, and a lot of parents feel like what they're reading isn't even 'going in' anyway, as the children and teenagers might be half asleep or not seeming like they're paying attention! A lot of people who've grown up reading scriptures together have said maybe they didn't learn much a lot of the time, but they're sure they got something out of it.
Since our girls are 1 and 2, we read out of these awesome illustrated (they're almost in a comic style) scripture story books:
You can purchase all four books of scripture here, for either $6.50 or $7 each, with free postage. They're awesome, and the children love them!!
Last week during scripture reading both of the girls were a bit distracted, and didn't seem to be listening at all. We were reading - over the course of the week - about the last supper, the Saviour's death, resurrection, and his ministry after his death. I didn't think too deeply about it, but didn't think a great deal 'went in', until Maggie the other morning randomly said to me, "Mummy, Jesus was res-a-rec-ted, remember??". I stopped in my tracks and said "Yes! You remember that too, do you?" (I was impressed that she was able to say the word so well!). Then she said "Yes Mummy, but he died! Jesus died! And it was so sad! But then he was res-a-rec-ted, and now he's alive, Mummy! Jesus is alive!! And he saved us!!" I was a little bit gobsmacked. How did she learn that so fast?? I mean, we really tried to teach it to her while we read, but she seemed a little more interested in making Ana giggle at the time! But it went in. The little sponge soaked it up! So now she knows the basic foundation of Christianity. Jesus died for us. He saved us. He was resurrected and He lives again! So I guess the whole 'family scripture reading' thing is working! - More than we even knew.
It made me realise more than ever, that although I know they're learning more now than they'll learn in years following, sometimes I don't know if I spend enough time making sure they're learning all the important things. What else do I want them to know??! I want them to treat people decently, to think the best of everyone. I want them to be respectful and kind, to look out for anyone who might need a hand, to share and play nicely. I want them to know that they are of such great worth, and can be anything they want to be - that they have endless potential. I want them to work hard, and love life - to celebrate, to enjoy and feel free... and that it's never okay to speak with your mouth full :)
But since they are little sponges, and sponges can soak up an awful lot, what else do you think they should know??