“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
~Proverbs 22:6 NLT
I have been greatly blessed in life and family is at the top of my gratitude list. Over the recent Thanksgiving holiday I was blessed to be able to spend some time with Madison and Tyler, my great-niece and great-nephew. Maddie is nine years old and Tyler just recently turned seven.
A few months before Tyler’s sixth birthday his parents asked him what theme he wanted for his birthday party. Tyler told them he wanted to have a “Jesus Party.” Every time I think of that, it makes me smile. What an awesome party that would be! So, recently, while praying about some ideas for my blog, God put it on my heart that I should interview both Tyler and his sister, Maddie, about Jesus and the Bible.
My niece, Terri, and her family, live several hours away from me and I don’t see them as often as I would like. I wasn’t sure how the kids would respond to spending time with their old Aunt Mary, but God is good, and my time was them was enjoyable and uplifting. It was a beautiful day and the children decided that they wanted to go for a walk to look for deer. My sister, their grandmother, lives in a development where it is common place for deer to just meander around the neighborhood. So, off we went, in search of deer!
We began our walk and Maddie immediately took charge of plotting our course. They were with me, their directionally challenged Aunt, so whenever we made a turn, Tyler decided that he would make an “X” on the ground, at the corner of the intersection, so we could find our way back. He informed me that we don’t need technology because God will get us back home. I knew, immediately, that God had a plan for my time with these beautiful children.
I remembered that Tyler and Maddie, along with their parents, took part in their church’s live nativity last year. I figured that was a good place to start our conversation so I asked them if they were going to take part in it again. They told me that last year their mom was Mary, their dad was Joseph, Jesus was a doll, and Maddie was an angel. Tyler was pretty sure he was a Wise Man, or a wise guy, as we joked. Quite honestly, I don’t know if they are participating this year, because the conversation quickly turned to Tyler telling me that the lamb from the nativity scene ran away one year and got run over by a car! Tyler is “all boy!” Here’s hoping things turn out better for this year’s lamb!
As we walked a little further, I asked them if they knew who Adam was. They both knew, and Tyler was quick to tell me that Adam was the second person to sin because Eve sinned first. I laughed and thought, typical man, blame the woman! I was sure his dad, Tyson, would be proud of his son’s answer!
Before moving on from the topic of Adam, I quickly told them, in basic terms, why we have belly buttons and asked them, since Adam was made from the ground and the breath of God, did Adam have a belly button? They both laughed at my question, and then Maddie said no, because he didn’t need one. Tyler said he thinks God gave him one anyway so that we all look alike. Either of them could be right, so I guess we will just need to wait and see on that one!
Tyler became distracted because he saw his name written on the water cap on the road. Secretly, I was thankful that he saw it. The kids had me walking for a long time, so I was grateful for the breather! I reminded them that I was “old people” and that we needed to slow down!
As we began to walk again, which was all uphill at this point, I asked them what they would do if we got to the top of the hill and Jesus was standing there. What would they ask Him if they were only allowed one question? Maddie told me she would ask for a smoothie and Tyler said he would ask how He made the world in one second. I told Maddie I was certain that any smoothie made by Jesus would surely be delicious! I then asked them what they were most thankful for. Without hesitation, Tyler said “my family.” Maddie immediately agreed with her brother’s answer, and I wondered, silently, how often that ever happens! She then asked me if she could pick two things, and of course, I said yes, and learned that Maddie was also thankful for food.
Her answer made me think of the miracle of the loaves and the fish, so I asked them which of Jesus’ miracles they liked the best. Maddie must not have heard what I said, because she said something about a smoothie again. I was beginning to think my little walking partner was hungry! Tyler’s favorite miracle was when Jesus healed the blind man.
As we got to the top of the hill, Tyler found the “X” he had made on the side of the road and we continued on our way back to their grandmother’s house. Many of the homes in the development were nicely decorated for Christmas and I asked the kids if they thought people forget what Christmas is all about, celebrating the birth of Jesus. They said they did, and while I don’t remember exactly how I worded it, I made a comment about people getting gifts on Jesus’ birthday. That didn’t seem right to Tyler, who thought that Jesus should get gifts. I talked to them about Matthew 25:40 (NLT) and asked them; based on that Scripture, what kind of “gifts” did they think they could give to Jesus. They both agreed that they wanted to make food for someone who was hungry and I told them I was sure that Jesus would be very pleased with that.
As we continued our walk home, I asked them what they think heaven is like and Tyler told me that it has gold streets. He also quickly informed me that there is no sin in heaven. They were very attentive to what I was saying, so I asked them what they thought sin was. Tyler told me that sin was when we do something evil and Maddie, very wisely, stated that everyone sins. I told her she was correct but that Jesus took the punishment for our sins. Before I could even finish, Tyler interjected and told me that He did so on the Cross. I thought that was pretty awesome on the part of both of them.
These children are clearly filled with the Spirit of God and have been raised to know the Lord. Tyler attended Blair County Christian School for preschool and kindergarten but when I asked them who taught them so much about Jesus they immediately told me it was their mom, dad and Mimi, who is their paternal grandmother. In my heart, at that very moment, I praised God for the presence of all three of them in the lives of these children.
My time with Tyler and Maddie was such a blessing to me, and while the jury is still out on Adam’s belly button, or lack thereof, one thing is for certain. These children have already been directed on the right path.
Well done, Terri, Tyson and Becky!