Last week, my daughter overheard my grandchildren playing. It seems they were playing “house”, only they were on a family car trip. It became obvious to Hannah that they were “driving” around the house in search of a good church with which to “worship.” They entered one and found that it was just not sound. So they got back in their “car” and kept searching till they found a “good one.” Then she could hear the sweet sounds of hymns emerging from that room.
Last weekend, I was at a gathering in the home of some sweet folks. There were about a half-dozen families there. Those families included about fifteen children. Hearing them play “worship” in the other room was music (literally) to my ears. They had a song leader and they were singing the real lyrics, on pitch, to hymns we sing in worship. One little girl told her mom prior to arriving “I don’t know if I’m going to get to be a mommy or a daddy, but I hope I am not a baby.”
Where do they get both the will and the know-how to have structured play about worship? I’ll tell you where that comes from. It comes from parents who are real about worship. It comes from the moms like Lindsay who, several years ago, reached out to older sisters for ideas about helping children listen and learn in worship. It comes from dads like Nathan, who decided before he was ever even married, that he would have his kids engage in family Bible time every night, teaching them the accounts, principles, songs and memorization of the Word of God. It comes from moms like Alison who play CDs of memorization songs at night when her children are falling asleep. It comes from moms like Holly, who place the scriptures and Bible bowl and Sunday School homework as a priority above all the other subjects in her home school. It comes from dads like Andrew, whose children see him preparing and prayerful, prior to leading the church in worship. It comes from moms like Heather, who are constantly complimentary of their children’s singing in worship, even if accompanied by some pretty big hand-motions imitating the song-leader. It comes from dads like Ben who make plans about worship, when out of town, before the plan to even BE out of town.
Kids play what they see. Imitative play is healthy. It’s a very natural part of imaginative interaction. I’m glad for children who have an even greater propensity to “play” worship than they do to play tag or hide-and-seek (though those are good, too.) I hope you are diligent about worship…not just about its form, but about its regularity, its meaning and the price paid for the privilege. I hope you are prayerful and intentional about your children’s preparation, presence and passion for praise. I hope you make them know that it’s the primary way we get to verbalize our gratitude for all that He has done for us. I hope you are constantly feeding them evidences about His existence, excellence and exaltation. I hope you remind them, as you make decisions throughout your day, that He is the axis on which your lives turn. I hope His word is posted throughout your home and, even more importantly, throughout every recess of your heart.
I hope you read Psalm 127 often!