Is there anything more exciting than living life with a child who is discovering everything for the very first time? Fallen leaves, puffy clouds, flying insects… everything is fresh, and everything deserves exploration.
I love the wonder years. I love the enthusiasm and the joy that children naturally bring to life at this age. As a parent, I have the opportunity to see everything old anew as my children drag me to their latest find, ask me questions with new and interesting spins, and pepper me with descriptions of what they’ve seen.
In the first chapter of Romans, Paul writes to the Church at Rome about God’s anger with people who turn away from obvious truth, ignoring His hand in the creation all around them. In Romans 1: 19-20 (NLT), he says:
They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Our children are born with the innate ability to see God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – in the creation about them. God has made His existence and His glory obvious to them.
Our job as parents, during the early childhood years?
We have the gift of being able to point our children to Jesus at every turn. When our kids marvel over the fallen leaves, we can explain how God has given us seasons – seasons of dreaming and new hope, seasons of work and planting, seasons of harvest and plenty, seasons of barrenness and rest. We can play together in the piles of leaves, talk about how God designed the trees to store food for winter, and why their leaves fall. We can thank God together for the time we’ve spent jumping in leaf piles. We can go to the library, check out books on leaves, and explore the incredible design behind each leaf.
Every moment of wonder is an opportunity for discipleship.
Every turn with our young children is an opportunity to point them to Jesus. Their hearts are open, God’s goodness is obvious to them, and their minds are growing by leaps and bounds. We can plan for these moments by leaving ourselves open space in our schedules. We can create moments for discipleship by intentionally seeking them out. For example, nature walks are a fantastic way to observe God’s handiwork, and to discuss His majesty.
During our series on Raising Grown-Ups ~ The Great Commission at Home, we’re talking about how to disciple our children. In September, we’ll be talking about how to raise Thinking Kids who know Jesus – in the age range of 4-7.
* How have you pointed your children to Christ during your daily interactions in the wonder years? How has your 4-7 year old helped point you to Christ?
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters and God Still Provides.