A few weeks ago, Kristie at Life with My X Men posted an entry - religious training and fragile x. I was going to comment on it, but found my comment to be too long and decided to make an entry out of it. My goal is not to offend anyone, but if I do I cannot apologize for it. This is what we believe in our family. And, let me add, I am in no way saying we have all this figured out or that we do it right all the time, but we sure give it a good hidy-ho effort every day. We also are always ready to receive wise guidance from others who believe the same as we do about our Christian doctrines, faith and beliefs as they relate to everyday life.
In our opinion, raising our children to love and have a relationship with Jesus Christ is both the most wonderful and frightening privilege given to us. How on earth do we pass this along to our children.....who currently (1) are very young and (2) do not have the ability to understand things in the same way as typical kids? Well, we figure we do it in exactly the same way we would if they were 'typical'! We lead by example. No, we don't always manage to display the example we would like, but we sure try. When we fail (like totally, totally lose our cool with them, or spank out of anger, etc), we try to chalk it up to what NOT to do instead of beat ourselves up night and day over it. God's grace IS sufficient to gird us up for the next challenge, which is usually just right around the corner. :)
My biggest fears when we got our first diagnosis, and each one after, was "Will they learn to love, and will they know our love and the love of Christ who formed them? Will they ever be able to understand what it means to have a saving relationship with Him?" I cried lots over this. I sometimes still do. But God is so good. He shows me in ways only He could that He is really in charge of it all. I do my part, He promises to do His. So, I cherish the times I watch my kids in front of a Mercy Me DVD dancing up a storm, arms raised, and voices singing and saying things like God is good. It warms my heart when Avery does it, but it runs even deeper when Ian does it. He'll raise his hands and close his eyes. It's just beautiful! And it warms my heart that they enjoy going to Sunday school each week.
With Ian, because of some his difficulties in school, every morning we try to talk about how God made his hands to be nice and his mouth to say nice words. When we see him hit, push, pull hair or say 'stupid', we remind him of these. And we ask him, "Ian what did God make your hands for? Ian, what did God make your mouth for?" That way when he answers, we know he was paying attention. :) Just tonight he was imitating me as I got down on my knees, palms lifted, singing. OMG! And just imagine...if it's that adorable and heart-warming to me, how much more is it to the Lord's!!!! So, although I know that he does not fully understand everything, I do believe with all my heart he will...in the way he can. I believe the Lord really, really wants to be sure I know that
Avery doesn't understand everything yet either, which is fully understandable at her age. But, she is further along in understanding than Ian. She asks questions, likes to pray, and thanks God for EVERYTHING when she prays. She also tells Ian when he's done something that may have made God's heart sad. We've started praying together for her classmates that weren't at school that day because they were sick. One of them was on a trip so Avery wanted to pray that she would be safe. She once made a comment like "God is not real", which brings up really good conversation. Of course it's hard for her to understand when she can't see Him. It's hard for most of us a lot of the time, and she's only 4. We let her know He is real and lives in her heart. Yeah, try to get a 4 year old to understand that. But right now that's one thing we'll keep saying, even though she doesn't understand it yet.
We make sure we don't 'shove' things down their throats or tell them a bunch of heavy stuff they could not understand at this point, like why people die, why bad things happen, how Jesus could actually take care of all of our sins, how He could be everywhere at once, knows all things, etc. Instead we just set the best example we can, and hopefully they will continue on the path they are and will ask more questions as they get older. Then we will know they will be ready to know more. Right now, we let them know what pleases God, what breaks His heart, and that Jesus loves them soooooo much. We believe in 'teachable moments' and look for them all we can.
So, yes, I am a firm believer that fragile x'ers, and all other SN kiddos can know and love Christ and learn what it means to walk with Him. It may or may not look different, but God speaks to their hearts just as much as ours. I will never let anyone lead be to believe otherwise.