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Set the Sails
Photo: Mishel Gusev
We’ve all heard the old adage “The set of the sail determines the port.” If I remember correctly, that was the motto of my high school graduating class. It was a good motto, but as I marched down the aisle to receive my diploma, I never dreamed that I would someday apply that motto to my parenting.

As God has lead me to realize in my own life the importance of regular, daily prayer and Bible study, He has also lead me to desire that for my children. I certainly do not want it to take them the thirty years that it took me to recognize the importance of a daily devotion. With that motivation in mind, I determined to do my best to train my children and build positive spiritual habits with them as preschoolers—while new habits are still easy to form.


Let me tell you that corralling my active 3-year-old and 5-year-old is often easier said than done. They don’t naturally want to sit still and listen reverently, so I try to make our morning worships short and focused. The more they participate and contribute, the more they enjoy it. I often let them choose the book(s) that we will read, and to facilitate this selection process, I created a special shelf where they will find all our religious children’s books. To avoid burn-out and disinterest in our limited collection of books, I also purchased an age appropriate daily devotional book that presents Bible topics in relevant, hands-on ways.

Last, but not least, we always pray together. Sometimes I pray, sometimes one or both of them prays. I suggest things we might pray for, and they are learning to think of prayer requests of their own.

I have my own prayer request. My prayer and my goal is that my children will grow to thirst for time with God each day. Future goals do not become realities overnight or by accident. My part is to teach and direct them now, each day and with God’s help, drawing them a little closer to the answer of my prayer. My little ones do not know how to set their own sail yet. As their parent, it is my job to set it for them in a direction that points them toward that heavenly port.

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Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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