In 1986, an author named Robert Fulghum wrote a book of short essays titled, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things. This classic touches on some of the most important basic lessons we learn early in life – simple things like playing fair, being kind to one another, keeping your hands to yourself, sharing, not taking things that aren't yours, saying you're sorry when you hurt someone, saying “Please” and “Thank you,” being curious by the wonder of this world, and so much more.
As the book’s name suggests, children are taught the fundamental rules of positive human interaction during their formative years – and by the time they reach kindergarten, it’s assumed that kids are aware of how to conduct themselves. And as children mature, we further assume that they develop deeper awareness and a clearer understanding of the importance of these lessons. It further suggests how amazing the world would be if adults adhered to the same basic rules that children learn by kindergarten!
More than fifty years later, the lessons contained within this book still ring true. What we teach our children during their foundational at an early age during their pre-school and kindergarten years will set the course of their lives. It will define how they think, act, and respond to others. During these early years, children are curious and unbiased and excited – and they’re like little sponges absorbing the world around them. So it’s up to parents to teach them the right way.
At Divine Beginnings, we wholeheartedly agree with the virtues expressed in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten – and we want to take it a step further. As Christian parents, we have an additional responsibility to bring our children up in the way of the Lord. This means that in addition to teaching them about societal norms, customs, and rules, we must also teach them about Biblical lessons found in the Holy Bible. Children are a divine gift from the Lord - and the early years are when children are most innocent, most pure, and most unblemished by the world around them. That’s why God instructs us in His word to "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it," noting that it is imperative to introduce Christian values to children during their early formative years to set the foundation for a lifetime. (Proverbs 22:6)
This means that we must speak wisdom to our children - and guide them as they grow in knowledge and truthfulness. We must allow them to make mistakes in life (as do we all!), but in doing so, they will grow. And they will mature. And they will rely on the lessons they’ve been taught to navigate life! Let's help our children grow through what they go through by giving them grace, patience and understanding that they are still learning! And as we do, we, too, will grow as parents! And it goes without saying that we must pray with our children - and teach them how to pray.
"Getting it right" takes time - and a lot of trial and error! It may also take a village of loved ones to help - including, grandparents, godparents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, mentors, neighbors, teachers, Sunday School teacher, coaches – and many others. Collectively, the influences on the children in our lives will have a lasting effect on the adults they ultimately become. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
God has made each one of our children special. Our role isn't helping them be perfect or to become more like their siblings or peers. They are ALREADY special in their own right! Our main goal as parents is to ensure our children are everything God made them to be. Individuals who are kind, compassionate, loving, know right from wrong, and who have a heart for others - and who have a heart for God!
As we raise our children in God way, let's help them to understand — with their hearts and not just their minds — just how amazing God's grace truly is. Christian living takes work and commitment. But at its core, it’s about learning early and often how to honor God by adhering to His word.
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