What They Need
“Do you want a sippy cup?” “Do you need a ride?” “Do you need money?” “Need a hug?” “Want a cookie?” “Did you pack underwear?” “Did you brush?” “Did you flush?” “Did you wash your hands?” “Are you scared?” “Are you okay?”
Can you believe the amount of time, energy, and resources you spend looking after your kids’ needs? I don’t know if you worked outside the home before becoming a mom, but my 40 hours a week had nothing on motherhood. (If you want a laugh, I must recommend this MomSense clip.)
Actually, I remember being somewhat shocked when I first came home from the hospital with our oldest and tallied up my hours nursing—just nursing. That was 40 hours. Welcome to your new occupation, Janel. Moooo.
And even without leaning into consumerism (i.e. letting our child’s desires dictate our actions), our sensors are constantly alert to their needs, physical and otherwise. With newborns, we learn a new form of half-sleep, listening for cries, popping out of bed like toast at 3 a.m. As they grow, we learn our babies’ “languages” long before they can talk (Baby: “Mmmmfffsccchhhlp.” Mommy: “Oh, you need a drink?”). Further down the road in their blossoming independence, we’re detectives for every clue to their inner worlds.
But two authors, Voddie Baucham and Ginger Plowman (catch her on this week’s FamilyLife Today broadcast!), have brought a Scripture into new light for me. Here’s how Baucham put it:
I just tend to believe the Word when it says “all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness; that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” which means there is nothing to which God will call my children for which the Word of God will not equip my children. So my job is to get as much of the Word into them as possible. That way, whatever it is that God intends for them to face, they’ll have the tools necessary to overcome. (emphasis added)
You can probably see where I’m going here. If I want to meet my kids’ needs, this is where I start.
God explained to His own kids (Israel) that meeting their needs with manna was to teach them that “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). To meet our kids’ needs, to give them something to live on, Scripture is as important as food — more so, I’d say, after watching Jesus’ and Moses’ examples of fasting 40 days. (Note: FamilyLife does not necessarily recommend feeding your kids only Scripture for 40 days.)
I’ve mentioned these verses before:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6–7
Throughout the day, in all of our activities, we equip our kids and meet their needs by helping them eat, sleep, and breathe Scripture—not in a “Say the Lord’s Prayer or DROP AND GIMME 20!” manner but in a life-giving, this-is-the-life-and-language-of-our-house sort of way, that teaches our kids (and ourselves) how to apply Scripture in every moment:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
This is “teaching a man how to fish” in the ultimate sense. I’m not just giving my kids’ hearts something to snack on. I’m helping them find the spiritual fridge at any moment of the day.
Ginger had a super article (cut me to the heart) in The Family Room last month that touched on this, and she’s written a really fantastic calendar-style resource, Wise Words for Moms, listing your child’s behavior (alphabetically: “Aggravating, Bad Friendships, Blame Shifting …”), heart-probing questions, the behavior to “put off” from Scripture and what to “put on” from Scripture, and then more verses. Phew. Wish I could mentally google that stuff when my children and I are respectively displaying our sinful natures.
Maybe as my kids and I “eat” more of the Word, I can.