Don’t you love new beginnings? I am looking forward to a new beginning with my children. I am wondering and imagining what my legacy will be with them. I have been praying that Justin, Aidan, and Jordan are having a beautiful childhood where they will realize that their faith has been modeled to them.
I do teach them Bible verses. One of the verses I have pondered is in Ephesians. “I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (1:18). Paul was writing about wonder and imagination playing a part in the lives of those who know Christ. When he prays that the “eyes of your heart” be enlightened, he is saying he desires the eyes of the place inside us – where we have our heart, mind, soul, and personality moving in unity to create our inner self – to be awakened to the countless resources of truth, comfort, companionship, eternal love, and the sublime beauty of God.
Isn’t that what faith is? The seeing with the eyes of the heart what we cannot see with our physical eyes? Seeing with the eyes of our heart combines our minds that acquires truth, our heart that imagines and fill in context and story details, and our soul instructed by the Holy Spirit to understand nuances of light, goodness and beauty. And so, as I seek to educate the three beautiful boys of mine about the transcendent, infinite God, I show them His reality by exploring what we all see and wonder at and imagine when we view the art of His night sky. We wonder profound thoughts by read the Word that tell us His stories and learning about the heavens and creation with our mind, which can study and access scientific details about stars and galaxies, and synthesize it together. But to fully engage in the transcendence of God, we must imagine, wonder and ponder the truths, His creation, and His story. It is always beautiful when a part of our story becomes a part of His bigger story.
I am learning about how teach the stories of Scripture to them. I am imagining the stage by imagining the scenes together. Through pondering, they can conceptualize what was like to walk the dusty roads packed with adults and children, dogs, cats, to hear Roman guards riding on horses, spears in their hands, yelling and pushing people out of the way, to hear the sounds of the little lambs bleating on the way to the market; to understand the thirst and sweat and smells surrounding Jesus as He walked the roads of Jerusalem and shopped at the market. Wonder gives context to the words Jesus spoke. We imagine with our children. “There was a little boy just like you who loved to run and chase the dog.” Or, “Maybe in the fields, a girl just like you collected a bouquet of wild flowers as she heard the comforting words of Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount.” Without imagining what the atmosphere was like, who the people were in the story, what their needs, fears, and demands were, we do not get the whole context. Entering into the story as real-time experience opens our hearts to the messages given there. We seek to get to the heart of God in order to engage the heart of our children.
Education is discipleship. Just as I am teaching students how to go through a process to see change in their English level, I am teaching my children daily about discipleship. Whoever inspires learning is not passive but actively passing on a world view. It is important to seize the opportunity and freedom to help my children see the world through the eyes of faith, with the values that I think are foundational.
Of course, Jesus is my model for discipleship. He walked through the days with His disciples, loving them, teaching them, serving them food, showing compassion for their exhaustion, healing people, answering their questions. I am hoping my children will have an essential understanding of this. It is not my goal to pass on head knowledge, legalism, or moralism but to pass on a real, life-giving faith that addresses the needs, hopes, desires, longings, feelings, and questions of a person in a daily relationship with God.
Of course, the most important thing I can teach to anyone is that God came down from heaven to earth so we could begin to know him and relate to him as His friends. We are His beloved children. It is relationship with him that we were made for. This is the legacy I want to leave to Justin, Aidan, and Jordan.