Take a minute and think back to your school days. I want you to think back to kindergarten. You are five years old, and it’s your turn for show and tell. You remember that, don’t you, those good old days of show and tell? You might even remember what you brought in. I don’t, but I do remember being excited when it was my turn.
“He said to them, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or bed? Instead, don’t you put it on the stand?” (Mark 4:21 NIV).
These words from Jesus reminds me a little bit of show and tell. In show and tell, your teacher asked you to bring in something that your classmates didn’t know about, something that was important to you, something that had meaning, and you shared it with them.
In the same way,
God calls me as a parent of children on the autism spectrum to do some “show and tell.”
As Christian father I have something in my life that is important to me. It has meaning and at an early age my children don’t know what it is! I am talking about my faith, of course, and I am especially talking about my relationship with Jesus. All parents begin parenting with children who do not know Christ or His love for them, and as parents it’s our responsibility to share our faith with them. Show and tell. That is a big part of what Jesus is talking about in Mark 4:21.
Think about a lamp. It’s purpose? A lamp is positioned strategically to do one thing: cast its light on a specific area. My lampstand in my living room is designed to cast light towards the sofa to make it easier for me to read. The lamp in my bedroom cast its light toward the pictures of my family making them easier to view.
As a parent of children with special needs, God has strategically placed me as a “lamp” in my home. To do what? To highlight God’s love, His goodness, and reveal His Son to our boys. If I want my boys to have a faith that influences the way they live their lives, then in my home I need to be a “lamp.” And there is good reason for doing so! In his book, Building Faith At Home, Mark Holmen summarizes the recent research on primary factor that influences children in their faith:
- “Why is reestablishing the home as the main place for faith development so important? The main reasons is the influence of Mom and Dad–who are two to three times more influential than any church program” (p. 25).
I’ve discovered over the years that life with children with special needs can be challenging. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve been more like a lamp “under a bowl or bed” rather than one “on the stand.” But that’s about to change because I’ve made a decision this month to become more intentional about shining His light in my home! As I confessed yesterday, I don’t want to be an average parent when it comes to the sharing and teaching of faith in my home.
If you’d like to join me in this decision then I’d encourage you to subscribe to this blog or “like” the Special Friends Ministry facebook page. That’s where I’ll be blogging about my role as a parent in the development of faith in my children on the autism spectrum. Michael Woods