Keep Calm and Parent On: Easter Edition
Before you become a parent, you probably have thoughts of an idyllic daily routine which includes teaching manners, reading books, helping to teach the littles how to handle responsibility, cleaning up minor messes, ensuring little-to-no screen time and lots of outside time, and capturing all the teachable moments that pop up throughout the day.
During pregnancy, those thoughts continue, and you actually do a bit more research on the horrors of screen time, how to keep your child safe, and how you will breastfeed exclusively for the first year, knowing that you are giving your child the best start possible. You are more determined than ever to make every moment magical and special, thinking you will have a love for your child that overcomes the depleted reserves of energy.
Then the baby comes, and you are trying to get a shower and figure out why your baby is crying even after feeding, rocking, and changing his/her diaper. You realize that the life you imagined might not happen exactly how you pictured it. Naps are not guaranteed. The frustration from your child over being told “no,” the anger issues, and the constant chaos happening in your home creates off-the-charts anxiety levels in you.
And then you remember Jesus.
You remember that in the book of Isaiah, God says that the words that come out His mouth will not come back empty-handed:
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.
not come back empty-handed. (Isaiah 55:11, The Message)
You want to do more and better for your child. You are determined to demonstrate the faithfulness, love, grace, and mercy of God to those in your charge. Once you remember that, you can begin to put all other thoughts you had into perspective, and what becomes top priority is teaching your child about Jesus.
Now the question pops up: How do I do that?
I know exactly how you feel. I am the mom to five children, and Pip to two grandsons. Easter has always been a time I tried to convey the truth of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. As a family, every year, we “adopted” the families on either side of us and created an Easter basket for them. We went to the Dollar Tree and purchased two small baskets and filled them with small candies, handwritten notes, and anything we could put in to personalize the basket based upon what we knew about our neighbors. We would include a copy of the Jesus Film DVD (ages me, I know). The point was, we included something about Jesus. This is great to do because we don’t really connect with our neighbors so much these days. It is an easy, fairly passive activity to include all of the family, and there is so much discussion you can have with children throughout the process.
To teach the truth of the empty tomb, I made Resurrection Rolls on Easter morning. I was able to tell the story to my children while we all made the rolls. My whole family participated in this and it was a great time of just focusing on the meaning of Easter.
To help demonstrate Jesus’ sacrifice, we had family friends who placed a black piece of cloth over the TV (doing without was a huge sacrifice for the children) for Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday.
Only have a few minutes in your week, or have a youngster whose attention span is non-existent? Buy pre-made sugar cookie dough and make cross-shaped cookies. Talk about the Cross as you wait for them to finish baking. Find out what your child believes about Jesus. This could be the most powerful conversation you have with your child all year! Then, as you eat the cookies, watch an Easter video for children.
A meaningful activity for older children and adults alike is to have a Seder meal. It is actually less of a meal and more of a symbolic event. Each part of the Seder has deep significance and meaning in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Being able to partake in a delicious meal after going through the symbolism of the Seder can impress upon children how sweet the Resurrection is after the death and burial of Jesus. This video explains the Seder very well!
Whatever you can do to help convey the deeper truths of Jesus, Holy Week, and what Easter means is going to help your children (and you!) to solidify an understanding of Who Jesus is, how much He loves us, and how we can depend upon Him even when it seems as though we have been forgotten.
As your children grow, the amount of screen time they had, the amount of sugar that has been eaten, and the number of teachable moments you took advantage of will all pale in comparison to what they believe about Who Jesus is, what He did for us, and how big His love is for us.
As your littles become big with lives of their own, you won’t remember the showers that didn’t happen, the chaos that was not cleaned up, or the mismatched outfits worn because of the lack of time to do the laundry.
You will see the benefits of teaching your children the words of Jesus. You will reap the rewards of your children knowing the truths of Scripture. You will know that there is Someone who loves your children even more than you do and He will never leave them.
Take advantage of Easter and the days leading up to that special day that is the linchpin of our Christian faith.
Join us for Easter services! Look here for more info.