The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.
- Psalm 65:8
How do we as parents encourage our children to stop, take a break, explore, and enjoy the wonder of God’s creations?
Five years ago, I left my career protecting Arkansas waterways and wildlife, to be a stay-at-home mom to our two boys. The year before, we decided to adopt our oldest son, after trying to have children for 8 years. However, as soon as we adopted, we became pregnant and had our second son (two huge answers to prayer in less than a year). We knew we always wanted children, but since we were unable to have them, things like staying home or leaving my career were things I never thought about. It was just something I did not want to do at the time.
After the first year had passed, I noticed my desires were changing. During this time, Michael (my husband) took a job in Northwest Arkansas. This was a great opportunity to move back closer to family after being away for 11 years. When we moved back, I decided to brave staying at home with the kids. It has not been easy, but one thing that has made it fun has been seeing our children explore the outdoors and praising God for it.
One of the big questions I asked myself, was “how do I teach my children to love the Lord?” While I have a degree, and I certainly geek out over animals like the lynx, or hedgehogs, I never learned to teach or attend a Bible college. What I did know, is creation! Last year we planted a vegetable and butterfly garden. Those along with local trails and lakes became our science classroom. This gave us ample space to explore and collect diverse bugs and wildflowers.
We also started bird watching and used the Wings Over Arkansas program to keep track of the various species we identified. If you’re not in Arkansas, you should look at what your State offers. We also use eBird to submit our different bird species we see as part of the citizen science project for Cornell University. Camping and hiking are great ways to teach without saying much. These environments have a way of teaching on their own. If you're not the “camping type,” I would encourage you to find a church or friends with kids yours can join. In just a few years, our children have become excellent at identifying animals on their own.
Children are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. Find ways to encourage their curiosity and don’t be afraid of the mess that comes with it. I know, I don’t like to deal with cleaning up messy art projects, or play-doh in my carpet either. However, when we put that aside, they learn to love the things God created and that he put there for us to enjoy; drawing us closer to him in the process. So, get out and find the “awe” in wonders of God’s creation, and create beautiful family filled memories.
- Get a Bug Collection Kit like this one
- For a budget version, you can use a jar with holes in the lid
- Share Bible verses about creation (below are some of our favorites)
- Genesis 1:1-2
- Psalm 139:14
- Psalm 33:8
- Matthew 6:28-29
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After receiving her degree in Wildlife Biology, Amanda started her career protecting Arkansas waterways and wildlife. Now, she runs a small homeschool class for her 3 beautiful and a-type children. Amanda loves helping families stay focused on Jesus; whether with binoculars or a microscope.