My wife and I have had our 6-year-old great-niece staying with us recently. We don't have grandchildren yet, so she comes closest to fulfilling that role in our lives.
Since my sons are grown, I'd forgotten some of the rules — you might call them guarantees — of caring for a younger child. Here's a refresher:
The later you stay up, the earlier the child will awaken the next morning.
For a child to get clean, something else has to get dirty. The demon of dirt requires a sacrifice.
The longer it takes to cook a meal, the less a child will eat. This law has a partner: The more you pay for the meal, the less a child will eat.
If you're in a public place and only one child acts up, you can be sure it will be yours. The larger the crowd, the more likely this scenario is to occur.
If you take a child to pick out something in a store, whether a toy, a pair of shoes or a dress, the child will always choose the most expensive item. But the cheaper the toy, the more a child will play with it.
No matter where you're going, three minutes in the car will cause any child to have to go to the bathroom.
My great-niece has just begun learning to read. As she was going to bed recently, she wanted to read me a bedtime story.
Her favorite book is a children's Bible with pictures. She started with the story of Creation and has been reading the Bible every day. Recently, she took me to the story of when Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize Him. She sounded out each word, her finger following along, and read me the story.
As I turned off the light and kissed her good night, I remembered this verse: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
To train a child is intentional, systematic, with a goal in mind. It involves imparting the knowledge and skills needed to be a follower of Jesus. If you have knowledge but not skills, all you are is a walking encyclopedia. Jesus imparted knowledge and skills to His disciples: He trained them.
To see a 6-year-old who has just gained the skill of reading, using it to read the Bible, reminds me the Scriptures come with their own guarantee: “and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries of Tulsa.