photo by Kevitivity
Fall is hands down my favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures, the changing leaves, and frankly, getting back to the comfort foods that come in crockpots and roasting pans. My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, falls during autumn, and for our family this is a heavy birthday season (5 out of 6 of our birthdays are in November).
One of the many ways we can teach our children about God is to introduce Him as the magnificent Creator. Getting our children out in nature can create awe, wonder and a sense of thankfulness as they see His hand in the world around them. It requires two things:
- We have to leave the comfort and convenience of our routine and, possibly, our electronics;
- We need to engage our children in nature and not just drive them to it (Isn’t that great kids? Now, let’s go home….).
Over the years we’ve taken our children to a variety of places, some down the road a bit, some right in our backyard. It’s a matter of keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities to take advantage of. Talk to friends, read the local paper, get information from your public library or area tourism center, or possibly the internet.
Here are some ideas we’ve capitalized on:
Pumpkin patches were always a big hit when our children were younger. A lot of these places made it a total experience with hay rides, fresh donuts and cider, and maybe even a small petting zoo of farm animals.
Now that they’re older, we’ve enjoyed going to corn mazes. These may be more available in the Midwest than elsewhere. These are A LOT of fun. My two youngest, who would rather curl up in a corner and read a good book, become intrepid adventurers in a corn maze. And there’s still the hay ride, fresh donuts and cider and baby chicks to hold.
Farmers markets are a good place to visit in the fall. When we lived in north Georgia we would frequent local apple orchards and stock up on both eating and baking varieties. The smells were delicious.
Migrating animals offer possibilities, as well. About 45 minutes from where we lived in Indiana there was a state fish and wildlife area where Sand Hill cranes would come by the thousands to roost on their way south for the winter. These birds are about four feet tall with a wing span of six and a half feet. They’re huge. As the sun sets their forms fill the sky, much like the winged monkeys in The Wizard Of Oz. At their peak they will reach 10,000 in number. Talk about awe-inspiring.
Our children are not equally inclined toward nature. My youngest son probably has the greatest affinity for it. Nonetheless, we felt these kinds of trips were needful for helping our children see God in His glory. Without making it a running dialogue, they heard us praise His name for His creation, point out the intricacies He designed into nature and thank Him for his provision of our needs. In turn, they saw God in everything.
Helping your child develop a thankful heart and a sense of awe about their Creator is an effective step in turning their hearts and minds toward the God who can save them. His creation provides just the tool you need to do that.
As for us, I’m waiting for just enough leaves to fall. Then we’re going to the park, the one with the river running through it, and we’re goin’ shufflin’. I love shufflin’.
What’s your favorite season and how do you see God in it?