Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)
Even though seventeen years and three thousand miles separated me from my youngest brother during his childhood, we've always maintained a close bond. I remember visiting him when he was six. He told me of his first year at school, and, during the conversation, he announced proudly, "Sis, I can read now!"
"Good, why don't you go find a book and read it to me," I invited. I wasn't expecting his choice, or I might have been more specific as to its size. Soon he came scurrying back to me with a well-worn copy of "Black Beauty", and eagerly turned to the first page. I can still see the disappointment on his face when I explained that I had time to listen to only one chapter.
Years later, when I was visiting his family of three boys, admiring their book collection, I knew that his love of reading was being passed on to the next generation. "Ranall," I said, "what made you so keen to learn to read when you were young?"
"My sister," he replied immediately. I am his only sister and I couldn't imagine what I'd done to influence him, for I'd left the home when he was ten months old. "A certain older sister gave me a Bible when I was six years old, and I wanted to learn to read it," he explained. I learned that this gift planted a seed of desire to know God's Word. I'm certain that this seed was tended and watered with encouragement and support from my parents, a seed that has continued to grow, as he now ministers to his congregation in Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada.
Although young children may not fully comprehend the Bible, it is important to share the Word of God with them. As we communicate the truths found in Scripture, and share the story of God's love for them, we are planting spiritual seeds that will grow to maturity throughout their lifetime.
Prayer: Dear God, help us, as loving parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles, to nurture precious truths from Your Word in the hearts and minds of our children. Amen.