Note from the Editors: When a reader named Chasity wrote us an email asking questions about pointing preschoolers to Jesus, we tapped a few ladies to help answer her questions in a series of posts. Please read the introductory post here and look for the rest of the posts in this series in the index at the bottom of this article.
Chasity’s questions were these:
“I recently found your blog and have been greatly encouraged. I have a question regarding the mundane-ness of days at home. I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and when we have full days at home, we all seem to be bored and I seem to lack vision. What do you ‘do’ with your children during the days?
Sometimes I try to do little crafts or play games, but it seems there must be more to pointing my children to Christ. Would you mind sharing some ideas on how to fruitfully and purposefully fill the day?”
Trillia Newbell (@trillianewbell) shares her thoughts…
It’s 6 am and my 2-year-old and 5-year-old continue to sleep.
“Whew,” I say as I break open my Bible. Even the slightest noise might wake my youngest and then it’s time to “get to work.” But when they do wake, what in the world will I do all day?
Each day I wake up and must figure out how to teach, play with, and lovingly entertain two small children. To say it is easy would be, well, a lie. Young children are highly unpredictable, full of energy, and at times fussy. They need our attention, our energy, and our care– constantly. The question is what do we do with the mundane, everyday, sameness that is life with small children?
For me, the answer is remembering my children are a gift from God and then planning our days.
Children are complicated in that we, the parents, can tend to complicate everything. Children are actually quite simple. They enjoy simple things like trips to Target and the local fish store (I’m revealing some of my go-to’s). They can eat the same lunch every single day without much complaint. Going outside to play is a highlight of their day. They find joy in the simplest things.
Sometimes—to catch a vision for the mundane– I step back and think about what a gift it is to watch my kids explore and learn new things. Things like “fireflies won’t bite,” so they run freely catching them and letting them go over and over again. It’s time like this that I can share about Creation and God’s creativity and diversity. Children are a reward (Psalm 127:3) and breathe life into the everyday; and if we stop and watch, we get a glimpse of the glory and wisdom of God in allowing us the privilege to raise them.
But practically speaking, life’s just easier at times with a plan. I will often plan my day. Each hour will have a designated activity. I remind myself that my children love the mundane things that seem so boring otherwise.
Activities like playing outside, coloring in art books, reading, building blocks, watching Sesame Street, riding on a big wheel, going to Target (really—they love it!), and playing in their room. Maybe I schedule in a fun trip to the zoo or downtown. A schedule allows me to fill the mundane with intentional activity. The mundane all of a sudden changes from purposeless wandering (which I’ve done plenty of) to purposeful. During each activity I pray God would give me the opportunity to share about him.
It’s amazing how building blocks can spark conversations about trials (because the blocks fell and now one child is crying miserably) or a trip to Target yields itself to a conversation about being generous or being a good steward of God’s finances. In the everyday there are great opportunities for gospel sharing and living intentionally.
Yet it isn’t my schedule I must trust or lean on. As you know, children are unpredictable and plans often fail. I must continually trust God that even in these mundane days of raising-up young children in the Lord, He is using the time. The times when we do nothing at all may very well be the day when one of my children comes to know the Lord.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Trillia Newbell (@trillianewbell) is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, and serves as managing editor for Women of God Magazine. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Thern, and their two children, Weston and Sydney.
Other posts in the Pointing Preschoolers to Jesus series:
Practicing hospitality reminds me of Jesus, Gloria Furman
Deficiency in creativity is not a mother’s greatest problem, Jessica Thompson
Bored and unproductive moms are still loved by God, Kimm Crandall