Practicing with Children

Thankfulness Day 2

~ by Andrew Tash

Several years ago, I went through an extensive study in spiritual disciplines. While this had an immediate and lasting effect on me, I’ve seen over the last couple of years, the continued effects it’s having on my children.

I’ve written before about the concept of Sabbath and how my children have enveloped this practice into their lives. They understand the need for rest (usually) and make sure they set aside some time to make this happen. However, one of the other concepts has emerged lately that I didn’t expect.

The basic idea is that of “plenty.” It was usually expressed in a binary arrangement: living from abundance and living from scarcity. This springs from an assurance I would often think of the Psalm 50:10 verse – The cattle on a thousand hills . . . [are mine]. The whole of the earth issues forth from God. As God’s Children, we draw from this infinite source in the universe. Jesus expressed this as well in saying, “consider the lilies of the field.” What needs do we have that God cannot provide?

Living from scarcity is the opposite of this concept. It’s hoarding. It springs from a fear that this amount is all we have and all we’re ever going to have. In practical terms it denies a God Who Provides, Jehovah-jireh.

A story from our study came from Richard Foster. He remarked once that as his children grew up, he never noticed them stuffing pancakes into their pockets after breakfast. They believed (and acted) as if their needs would be provided for as they came up.

This week, as we prepped for Thanksgiving dinner, we started to make some dishes ahead of time. I asked my daughter to go to the store and pick up a few items.

She came back and we proceeded to make two kinds of stuffing, eat some pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and then she laid out phyllo to make some baklava (her first time).

It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I even discovered that she ended up buying the food with her own money. I didn’t know, didn’t even really think about it. We usually set aside some money each week for groceries, and I thought she had taken the grocery allowance with her. She didn’t.

When I talked to her about the money, she was nonchalant about being paid back. She, it seemed to me, lives from a sense of needs will be met, that she’d be taken care of.

I think this all surprised me because it’s a much more difficult idea to teach. It’s something that they picked up, perhaps, from my own infrequent practice, but I’m thankful to see it.

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