As I continue to study and to read the Bible, I realize I failed. I failed to teach you faith. I failed to practice the parenting principles that my own parents taught me. I failed to share what I know to be my own life foundation.
As I grew up, both Mom and Dad lived a Christian lifestyle. They modeled it by the very routines of our day and our week. They never demanded that we participate, but then we would never have refused to follow their instructions. It never even occurred to me that we should question the practices.
Therefore, why did I not follow those deeply entrenched practices on my own? I did some, but some I did not. Going to church each Sunday was a well-preserved practice and included attending Sunday school.
Because Dad always went with us each Sunday, I never thought that my own husband would miss church. I thought that was just part of the agreement in a marriage. When I first had to go to church alone, I ached. It was so wrong, yet I failed to make an issue of the change. I just went—alone and alone with the kids.
Another practice that I failed in was maintaining the practice of the meal’s blessing. We had three meals a day growing up and that meant three mealtime graces.
I admit that the practice weakened during the college years because prayer is private and mealtime in the dorm’s cafeteria was far from private. The meals’ grace disappeared. Oh, I could have said the grace privately, but I don’t remember doing so. And when I moved into an apartment, I could have resumed the practice then. But I didn’t.
Then came marriage and meals were often in front of the TV. No table grace then.
And then came kids. I should have known that I needed to add in the meal’s prayer, but I did not and did not even approach the subject with Dad. I failed.
Then life changed with the divorce, and the opportunity to add in open prayer was there—but I hesitated. It was not until the preschool grace developed and later remembered that the simple table grace resurfaced. I failed to do so in a timely manner, but now it seems so important, so routine, and so simple.
Now the two practices of church attendance and table grace are just two small, concrete pieces to the Christian lifestyle that one can wear openly, but there is more about which I need to apologize.
Faith education is a critical failure. I know that many argue that as children develop, they need to learn about God on their own, along their own timeline, in their own way or by their own experiences. But how does that work?
Having been a teacher for 30 some years, I know that learning is developmental. I know that all individuals can learn. I know that we all learn differently. I know that we learn by seeing, by hearing, and by doing.
Yet, did I teach faith in my own home. No. I realize now that I counted on the kids learning via other people’s teaching. I delegated the task to others and did not take my own initiative to teach the very foundation of my own life. I failed.
For some reason I thought that I was doing enough, and I was not. I thought that since my kids lived in my home they would be able to figure out the importance of faith by osmosis.
I did not figure in what would happen when outside influences or the divorce would create an entirely different learning environment than I felt I was maintaining. I neglected my kids’ faith education.
How easy it would be to just ignore the issue, but I cannot stand seeing what life without God does to people. I see so few who seem to have an internal fountain of joy shining from within them; and I know they are missing the joy I experience knowing God in my own life.
What I should have done is been verbally open about how God is part of the daily world in which I exist:
I should have spoken about how God created this universe and we are to care for it.
I should have shown how all the different birds are part of God’s creation.
I should have shown how farmers are key to feeding God’s people and for protecting this world that supplies all we need to grow crops and to nurture the livestock that feeds us.
I should have explained how important it is to treat each and every individual with love, just like we want to be treated.
I should have shown them that good leaders do care about their subordinates making any business or organization work smoothly.
I should have . . . and the list continues.
I apologize that I failed.
But, today, I want to put a stop to the failures and speak out—directly—to my kids. God is good. Whether you can ever fully understand the concept or not of an omniscient God, a creator, a spirit, a being, or whatever, I know that you must know what a difference God makes in my life.
More than anything I want you to experience the joy of this life experience that we are given. I want you to demonstrate to all those you interact with that the power of loving one another is priceless. I want you to share the love of life that you have because God loves you so much that he provides it.
And, I want you to know firsthand the value of studying the literature of the Bible. We use words as a tool, and the Bible is filled with words to implement in your lives to manage all the ups and downs.
As human beings, who do have the freedom to chose right and wrong, who do have the mental capabilities of analyzing history, science, social science, and experience, and who face all the challenges of living among believers and non-believers, we must learn all that we can about God.
Knowing God personally makes it possible to manage the evil forces that co-exist in our world.
Knowing God personally makes it possible to live a joy-filled life even when we are confronted by a life challenge whether physical, mental, financial, or even a natural disaster.
I apologize that I did not arm you with the knowledge of God that makes life good now and on into eternity.
I apologize that it has taken this many years to speak up.
I apologize that I did not teach you how to pray so you can always feel the reality of God with you, by you and for you.
Hear my prayer oh Lord,
I am just a child of yours
always learning of your vastness.
I am a child who has wasted time
sharing what I value with my own.
I am a child who whines to you
that my kids may not know you on their own.
Forgive me, Lord,
for my failures to teach my kids of You.
Forgive me, Lord,
for wasting time in sharing faith out loud.
Forgive me, Lord, for whining
rather than doing as much as I can.
Guide me to speak out loud
the truth of your love for us.
Guide me to live out loud
my faith that so others may see.
Guide me to love my kids
and all others as you commanded.
Thank you for the words of the faithful
that share knowledge of faithful living.
Thank you for the open communication
through our prayers.
Thank you for your guidance
through the Holy Spirit within us.
May I be the parent unafraid
to love not only my kids but all your kids.
May all your children experience your great love
May they know the joy of loving you,
of loving life, and
of loving one another. –Amen