Training a child

We were in the car on Sunday, headed to the grocery store. “Daddy,” Namine said, “can you play the crystal Jesus song?”

I wracked my brain, trying to think what that could be. Then it occurred to me, the song from church that Namine had liked so much.

“The Chris Tomlin song?” I asked.


So I queued up this song on my phone and handed it to her. She listened to it on repeat until we got to the store, singing along loudly. (It helps that the video shows the lyrics, and her reading has improved a great deal.)

I think Namine’s participation in church is pretty typical for a six year old’s. She enjoys the songs well enough, she listens to the Bible readings with little fidgeting, and she gets bored with long sermons. (Come to think of it, that’s about on par for some adults, too.) But this past Sunday, something about one of the songs just struck a chord (pardon the pun) with her.

My church has traditional and contemporary services. Jessica and I prefer the format of the traditional service, mostly because it’s what we grew up with ourselves. But the contemporary service is the latest service in the morning, so it’s the one we’re most likely to show up for on time. So that’s the one we went to on Sunday.

They put the hymn lyrics up on the screen, but Namine can’t read that fast yet. It helps when we can help her follow along with the hymnal (another point for the traditional service), but that’s not always an option with the contemporary service. Nevertheless, Namine sings along as well as she can. She listens to me (and I, for my part, make sure to enunciate clearly so she understands the words) and follows along. Her singing is usually a half-beat behind everyone else, but that’s okay.

Last night, Jessica wasn’t feeling well, so Namine and I fended for ourselves for dinner. That might have made Jessica nervous not so long ago, but I think I can say without hubris that I’ve become a decent enough cook. Namine helps out by putting away dishes she can reach, and helping to assemble the dinner plates.

After dinner and getting ready for bed, we read out of Namine’s devotion book. Namine asked if it was okay, since Mommy was sleeping. I said yes, and that I would just read tonight. (Jessica usually reads, while Namine sits in my lap.)

It used to be that Namine would just sit through the devotion, not saying much, and not really paying much attention either. But last night, she commented on what made sense to her, and asked about what didn’t. Last night’s devotion was about the Ten Commandments (which Namine has already learned about), and it asked about what life would be like with no rules. Well, Namine had a lot to say about that.

She informed me about how cars would crash if there were no traffic lights. She told me about how everyone would be filthy if they didn’t have to take baths. She went on and on, and I listened to her and smiled. It’s amazing to me, to be able to see how she’s learning and growing. And how she loves to learn.

When the devotion was over, I asked her if she’d like to read the prayer. She was thrilled to do so.

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