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Preaching the gospel to a toddler

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This week at community group, the discussion centered around missions. We talked about crossing cultural boundaries to engage with the people around us. It got me thinking about the two most important people God has called me to witness to: my children. We have two very cute little heathens in our home. Gareth is a bit young for anything more than prayers, which usually go, “Please God, let him sleep tonight.” Emmeline still lacks abstract reasoning, which makes discussion about sin and salvation difficult. We can read Bible stories to her and give her Bible story coloring pages, but most of it goes over her head. When I try to delve deeper, the conversations usually go like this:

Conversation A:
“Emmeline, we don’t hit/squash/sit on/yell at/steal toys from our brother. We need to be kind and sweet and love everybody.”
“I can’t love everybody!”
“I know you can’t. Nobody can. That’s why we need Jesus to help us…. (I trail off in a caffeine-deprived stupor)”
“I can watch a show now?”

Conversation B:
(Yelling) “Emmeline! Just. Stop. Whining!”
(Yelling back) “OK!”
“Emmeline, we all need to learn to stop yelling. Even Mommy. We need Jesus to help us stop yelling.”
“I can watch a show now?”

The Holy Spirit has His work cut out for Him in this household–Mommy and little heathens alike.


4 responses »

  1. When the time comes “Leading Little Ones to God” was very helpful for our family. Madeline was 3 1/2 when my sweet SIL died. The first few chapters were very helpful in explaining to a child who was young but wanted to know more.

  2. for the whining, i would merely smile and say, “I’m sorry. I don’t speak whinese. I only speak English.” as they get older it even becomes funny. 🙂 she’ll get the idea that it’s ok to have a do-over and try again in her native tongue (ENGLISH, for the record!).


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