Who does God want you to love today?

I sat in a church with a group of preschoolers and asked them to be very still and ask God, “Who does God want you to love today?” We sat in silence as I thought about the profound answers I may hear. The first boy to eagerly raise his hand blurted, “God talked to me, and he said he wants me to love my TV and watch it all afternoon.”

If you can't name this girl, you may not know enough preschoolers.

If you can’t name this girl, you may not know enough preschoolers.

Wow, my ideas of God telling the preschoolers to love their family and friends and teachers and pets was derailed by the first child sharing he needs to love his television and watch it all afternoon. The percentages of children watching screen time is increasing in alarming rates. According to the Neilson Company, children are watching television 3.5 hours a day. 54% of children ages 4-6 would rather spend time watching television than spending time with their father.

Studies have shown that television viewing is associated with learning problems and language delays in preschoolers (Tanimura, 2007). Television viewing promotes attention problems (Christakis, 2004) and interferes with academic performance (Strasburger, 1986). More than 1,000 studies have shown an association between exposure to violent television programming and aggressive or violent behaviors in children (Strasburger, 2002), including early exposure as preschoolers and later antisocial behavior (Christakis, 2007). It is estimated that the average child views 12,000 acts of violence every year. Most network broadcasted shows for children contain 20 violent acts per hour.

With statistics like that, it no longer surprises me that television is on the minds of children. Movies like “Frozen” are very popular with my preschool friends. They talk about watching favorite things over and over while they also act out parts with great detail. The balance we all need is to help make the priorities of our hearts equal the priorities of our actions.

The average adult is worse than a child, we spend over 5 hours a day with a television which equates to a full 9 years of our lives trying to be entertained. If you start adding the screen time of going to the movies and looking up things on the internet, the numbers escalate.

We all have free will. (Any parent of a preschooler KNOWS that children will not always obey their parent.) We all can make choices. On this Valentine’s Day, let’s try to let our actions match what is really in our hearts. It is never too late to get out some glue and paper and make a Valentine for your loved ones. Also, remember that whoever you do love, you may want to spend some time with them.

My homemade Valentine given to me by a four year old.

My homemade Valentine given to me by a four year old.

  • On an average day, how much screen time do you have?
  • Will you bravely ask God who you should love today?
  • What are two things you could do today to better show how your heart aligns with your actions?

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“What is your favorite thing you see in your new preschool class?”

I asked a child, “What is your favorite thing you see in your new preschool class?”  She looked carefully all over a room teachers had spent weeks preparing. Then she looked at her mother and father and said, “My favorite thing in the room is my mommy and daddy.”

Loving note from a mommy and daddy

Loving note from a mommy and daddy

This note was written by a mommy and daddy for their child as she started preschool. Love is something you can sometimes feel on paper. Love is something that mommies and daddies give well. Love is what every child needs.

I see how much time, love and sweat teachers put into preparing a room for the fall. They laminate. They paint. They put up bulletin board paper. They arrange a room. They rearrange a room. They rearrange it again. They write names on cubbies. They rewrite names on cubbies when names are misspelled and some children never end up attending. They bleach toys until they start smelling like a pool. They make snack notes, calendars, getting to know you papers, attendance sheets, job charts and emergency plans.

They do this all to make a difference in the life of a child. Teachers do make a HUGE difference in the life of a child. However, mommies and daddies can still be the winner in the “favorite thing award.” Daddies can be the best toys in a room. Mommies can be better than the most delicious snack and be the best encourager. Mommies and daddies can truly be the favorite thing in any circumstance.

  • What is your “favorite thing” in your life?
  • What do you think is hard about being a mommy or daddy?
  • What can you do to help mommies and daddies in the world be the best they can be?

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.” Steve Jobs

The power of a preschooler can change a life….if you let it.

“Why do you love your mom?

I asked a preschooler, “Why do you love your mom?” She looked puzzled at me and said, “That is a silly question! I love her because I do.”

Love makes a heart happy.

Love makes a heart happy.

“I love her because I do”. Do you notice that a child does not say, “I love her, but…..” or “I love her if….” A child loves because he or she just does, nothing else. What a blessing that is to experience a love that is so unconditional and so pure and so confident. As “mature adults” we often are so conditional with our love. We love our husband, but we sure would be happier if he would make dinner for us. We love our wife, but we sure would be happier if she would dress up for us and hold our hand when we go out for dinner. We love our precious children, but it sure would be nice if they would pick up their toys or if they would do their homework without reminders or if they would call us more often. The list goes on and on. We love deeply, but we are happier when or if something else goes with it.

We can all get better at loving “just because”. We can all stop our expectations and love like a preschooler. We all did it at one time in our lives. It is never too late to get back to that question that maybe is silly to answer. Loving someone “just because” is something we can all do if we give it a try.

  • Why do you love your mother?
  • When was a time you remember conditions being put on love?
  • Will you look for one person today that you can love unconditionally?
  • Will you look for some mother or mother-to-be this week to wish a Happy Mother’s Day?

“Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”              Sam Keen