Introducing Your Children to the Creator

One of the best ways I know of introducing my kids to God, is to take them outside.


When we spend time with His creation, we are spending time with Him.
I say spend time with His creation, because I am talking about more than taking the kids to the park to burn off some energy.
I am talking about heading outside somewhere and sitting, listening, watching, discovering, searching, finding, learning, and becoming intimate with the world God has made.
By becoming intimate with His world, we become intimate with Him.


As you develop this habit of being outside, and of looking, the finding will come.
There, among the sticks, your three year old will point out, "look! A hummingbird, Mommy!"






Together you watch it, and study it's colors.
It's beautiful.
God loves color.
And because you've watched hummingbirds before, and wanted to know more about them, you've learned about them together.
You know this one is an Anna's Hummingbird.
It makes the find that much more thrilling.




Even this tiny bird doesn't escape their notice.
Nor does the new grass coming up after the rain.
You point it out to them at first, but soon, like the hummingbird, they are pointing things out to you.
Creation is alive to them.
And therefore, so is their Creator.




I have loved being outdoors since I was a little girl.
I longed to go hiking, to learn the names of birds and wildflowers.
So doing this with my kids is easy for me.
But you might be asking, "how do I do this?"
How do I take little kids hiking?
There are no trails here; we live in the city.
I'm scared of snakes.
Nature is dirty.


It's true.
Your kids will get dirty.




You should let them.
Because they'll love it.
Let them wear old shoes, and pants that can get a hole or two, and you won't mind it.
Watch them slide down a dusty hill instead of a metal slide at the park.
Watch them smile when they do.




Let the baby pick up some pieces of bark and get his hands dirty.
It washes off.




Let him play with sticks.
He's exploring.
If you're watching him, and keeping the sticks out of his mouth, he'll be just fine.
He's becoming comfortable in God's world.




This getting comfortable, it might take some sacrifices on your part.
But the more time you spend outside with your kids, the more you will all grow to love it.
I promise.


You don't have to start out in the wilderness.
You can start at a botanical garden.
Google it, and I bet you'll find one somewhere nearby.
Wander those paths with your kids and take in God's marvelous creation.
Next, you can visit a nature center.
Google that, and I bet you'll find several nearby.
Nature centers are usually staffed with docents or rangers, have marked, maintained trails, and are a good place to see wildlife and native plants.
There are also friendly people on the trails, so you don't have to feel like it's just you, the kids, and the snakes.
You can probably even find a bench to sit on for a while while you listen to the birds.
And when you've gotten really brave, Google wilderness parks.
You'll really love exploring one of those.


As you spend more time out in creation, you'll start to become familiar with plants, trees and flowers that live in your area.
You'll see the same ones over and over again.
And you'll learn their names.
This is Wild Mustard.




You can get field guides from the library or a bookstore and carry them along with you so you can identify things along the trial.
You'll be amazed to discover things like Wild Artichokes, Wild Cucumber and Wild Radish growing along the trials.
Your kids will be thrilled when they are able to identify those things themselves.




That is what I mean when I say become intimate with God's creation.
Instead of walking down a path and seeing only sticks and weeds, you will begin to see many different plants.
You will see each one is a unique color and shape.
Each one has a beauty all its own.
You will marvel at the magnitude of God's creativity.
What a perfect time it will be to share this verse with your children:
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." (Matthew 6:28-29)


The more you explore, the keener your eyes will become.
Your kids' will too.
In fact, my kids see far more than I do.
They are always spotting that bunny hiding in the grass, the lizard sunning on a rock, or finding the bird's nest amongst the sticks.
Have you ever looked at a bird's nest?




A bird's nest is a work of art.
It is a marvel of engineering.
It is made by creatures who have no hands!
And yet, they weave together sticks and strings, and bits of fur and straw and ribbon, into a home for themselves.
Nests are amazing.
Your children will see God in a bird's nest.
They will see the truth in these verses:
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26)
Don't stop them from touching and exploring.
Bring hand sanitizer if you're squeamish.
Learn to stay away from stinging nettles and Poison Oak.
And if your boy finds a snail he really wants to bring home, you had better figure out a way to get that guy home.




Because, he'll see God in that snail.
He really will.



Every time I hike with my kids, or just sit under a tree and watch them explore, I am reminded of this verse from Romans:
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

We see God in His creation.
We can see His power and His divinity.
When we look a the beauty of a tiny wildflower, or the majesty of a soaring hawk, we experience God in a real and powerful way.
Your child might not have a single Bible verse memorized, but if he knows God's creation, he is getting to know God.

Love from,
Greta


7 comments:

  1. Oh Greta! I love this. Absolutely beautiful. I find when I take a walk with my children, it really is the most relaxing time ~ away from dishes and laundry and everything else that can wait.

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  2. Love Love Love this post! Thanks!

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  3. This is why we love hiking and camping!

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  4. Oh Greta, this is just what i needed to hear...seems like you have a knack for saying convicting things to me! ;) Anyway, i love your perspective...i so want to be a nature person and to share that love and passion with my kids but it just doesn't come naturally...i think now i need to give it more of a chance to grow. Thank you for the suggestions/ ideas and for sharing your passion...it really is contagious.

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  5. Great photos, Greta. We are outside people too. : )

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  6. greta, thanks for sharing this beauty. truth indeed, HE is in creation.
    i've been thinking about this post. with elijah, he seems to be the most alert when outdoors. rare, special times. looking forward to a spring and summer full of marvel in HIS earth with my boy.

    love this. love you.
    xo

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