Whenever a couple dedicates a child at Providence, our children’s ministry gives them a copy of Nurturing Your Child’s Soul by Timothy Jones. In this book, Jones explores “soul nourishers” that can make all the difference in a child’s life and faith. I offer the first three of these “soul nourishers” (out of 10) for your thought as you begin a new year of nurturing the gift that is your child or grandchild.
Start with teachable moments. Each day presents opportunities for teachable moments with our children. When we are alert, we notice the moments upon which we can build. When we see a beautiful sunset, we draw attention to it and say, “God made all things beautiful.” When a young child is still in the crib, hymns can be sung while the child falls asleep. Remember that faith is as much caught as it is taught. Children are always watching us. We are never not teaching our children about matters of faith. Either by our words and habits or our lack of words and habits, we are communicating to our children.
Simply be present. One of the greatest needs of childhood is the presence of caring and loving parents, the need to know that someone will be there. This begins in infancy. Responding to cries and the extent and manner in which the child is held and spoken to form the essential elements of providing a foundation of trust or mistrust that the child will bring to all future relationships. Our presence not only opens opportunities for discussion; it communicates profound truths about our children’s value to us—and ultimately to God.
Rediscover the power of stories. Stories—told, read, remembered, made-up—provide an undervalued resource in nurturing a child’s soul. We tell our children the stories of faith. We do it at home, and at church.
We do all we can to keep the memory of the important stories alive. As the old hymn puts it, “I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love.” No story I can think of matters more.
To discover more, read Nurturing Your Child’s Soul. Copies are available at your nearest bookstore.