It’s official! Your bundle of joy from 2016 is now a full-fledged toddler. And if I’ve learned anything from the internet about parenting, it’s that there a million ways to screw it up and you’re probably doing it wrong. On top of that, your offspring is now walking and talking—but are they walking in the way of the Lord with their unassured waddle? Are their incoherent babbles at least trying to evangelize someone? If not, you may have a secular child on your hands (they don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing).
But take heart! Just as I helped you name your child with a good, strong, completely obscure biblical name, I will also give you unqualified advice for how to raise said child to live up to their awesome namesake. Whether they are a Shiphrah or a Zebulun, all it takes a little training to get them on the path to glory.
Use spiritual disciplines instead of regular discipline.
Is your child a picky eater? Try feeding them fruits of the spirit instead. Did your child throw a temper tantrum? Perhaps reading about Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables in the temple will teach them a thing or two about righteous anger. Does your child need a time out? Forty days in the wilderness just might do the trick.
They were good enough for John the Baptist; they are good enough for your toddler.
Take spiritual nourishment to the next level with all-natural, organic locusts and just a small drizzle of honey. A tangible way for them to connect with biblical role models and bonus, it’s a great source of protein!
Take Sundays off.
Everyone knows that parenting is hard work. Therefore, according to the Bible, you simply shouldn’t do it on Sunday. No changing diapers, no feeding, no bathing, no playing. Nothing but naps for the day of rest. If your toddler is truly a Christian, they will understand and spend the Sabbath in silence.
Volunteer your toddler for leadership opportunities at church.
It’s never too early to make your voice heard in church matters—sure, Jesus didn’t start schooling the rabbis until he was twelve, but he had to be careful not to be too much of a showoff. Your child will not have this problem. As someone who is already immersed in the nursery ministry, your tyke just might be the one to solve scheduling issues and increase volunteer retention.
Make the Bible your child’s first (and only) book.
Interested in getting your toddler reading early? Nothing is better for a growing vocabulary than a list of the many, many generations of Jacob’s descendants. Step aside Goodnight Moon, 1 and 2 Chronicles are all you need to put your children to sleep at night.
Be a spiritual ambassador for other parents.
Since we all know that a child’s behavior is a direct sign of good or bad parenting, this one’s on you, parental units. Do you see another toddler living in sin? Share the good news of spirit-driven child-rearing. Everyone loves to receive unsolicited parenting advice, including you, obviously, since you are reading this. So go forth and spread your judgment—I mean, the gospel.