Parents, download a free e-book in time for Easter

March 26, 2018

What a happy, life-altering, exhausting, and intimidating thing it is to be a parent of small children.

There are moments of undeniable joy and laughter—holding your newborn, hearing him laugh for the first time, singing to her, teaching him to walk, experiencing her first words. Who doesn’t have fond memories of their child saying, “I love you mommy,” or, “Hold me Da-Da”? Who can forget the first time their small child opened the baby powder on his own, dug through her mother’s pocketbook without her knowledge, or bit into a slice of lemon unawares?

But joy and laughter are not the only thing our children “bring to the table.” They—toddlers especially—also alter our lives in ways we could not have easily imagined. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d know this much about Dora the Explorer. Little did we know that we would spend a third of our time as “toddler parents,” touching things in our house and wondering why they’re so sticky. Nor did we know we’d spend the other two-thirds scraping goldfish off the car seats and exaggerating our enthusiasm about little Junior’s latest offering on the potty.

So little kids are small bundles of joy who alter our lives. But they are also exhausting. In fact, as I (Bruce) have observed my wife’s devotion to our small children, I’ve concluded that mothers of small children are guinea pigs in a grand sociological experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human existence.

One of the most significant reminders of our shortcomings is the fact that children are natural mimics who act like us despite our fervent efforts to teach them a good attitude and good manners.

And then, on top of all of this happiness, life-reorganization, and exhaustion, there is the intimidation factor. Who among us—in the realm of small-child-parentdom—hasn’t recognized the pressure involved in being a role model for our young children? We are often reminded of our own shortcomings and of the fact that our small children will very soon be big children and then, after that, no longer children at all.

One of the most significant reminders of our shortcomings is the fact that children are natural mimics who act like us—their parents—despite our fervent efforts to teach them a good attitude and good manners. They have extraordinarily good memories; in fact, they easily repeat word-for-word what we shouldn’t have said.

Happy. Life-altering. Exhausting. Intimidating. But also receptive. Children are little sponges who are ready to absorb what we teach them. They stand ready each day to receive in their memory banks the deposits we will make.

Their receptivity is something upon which we should capitalize, and some of the most ordinary or regular moments in the parenting calendar provide a great opportunity to do so. One of the ways we capitalize upon their receptivity is to use annual holidays (which tend to be exciting for small children) as special moments to teach our children about Christ and his gospel.

That is the thesis of our new little book, Every Holiday a Holy Day—that the annual calendar provides a wonderful opportunity to shape our children’s hearts and lives. We hope that you find it helpful, from one parent to another.

To download it for yourself, head over to Southeastern Seminary’s Intersect Project and learn how you can download it for free.

This article originally appeared here.

Bruce Ashford

Dr. Ashford has been teaching at Southeastern since 2002 and became the provost in 2013.  His goal in teaching is to encourage his students to bear witness to the truth, goodness and beauty of the gospel and to work out its implications in all facets of their lives and in … Read More

Lauren Ashford

Lauren Ashford is the wife of Bruce Ashford, Provost and Dean of Faculty at the College at Southeastern.  She has three children and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read More by this Author