Training up a child

Duet 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

TulipGirl blogged about the Heart of Discipline a couple of days ago and quoted the above verse. I read it today and realised that it describes what I have been making a real effort to do with the boys recently and what I had been planning to write about in this post.

I've been teaching Ethan memory verses and going over concepts from his Sunday school classes in earnest the last few weeks. This week was the first time that I've really tried to teach him scripture. One of the interesting things about autism is that it comes with an amazing memory. It only took a handful of times of me repeating this week's memory verse (Romans 1:16) a handful of time for him to get it. I way lay him during bath time or when I'm getting him dressed for school, or during play time, or when he's just on his way from one part of the house to another to ask him what Romans 1:16 says. I almost always get the right answer and we've only been working on this verse since Sunday afternoon. Every time I hear Ethan say those words I offer up a prayer that he will understand and embrace them some day.

Teaching Ethan his memory verses will require me to memorize them as well. I'm still not sure about his reading status (he knows many individual words but I'm not sure he realises that they can be put together to make sentences) so I'll have to repeat the verses to him until he gets them. Gotta practise what I preach.

Isaiah has been wandering around the house singing what sounds like, "Thank you father, thank you father!" His Sunday school class curriculum focuses on what God made and being thankful for it all. I don't know where the song came from though. It may be one of his own creations. In any case it has become the basis for a calming routine I use with him when he acts up in church, during prayer time in the service, and during bath time (he hates having his hair washed but he's always smearing things in it or throwing things in his hair). I sing the words the way he does and then run down a long list of things that God made and things to be thankful for. Isaiah usually stops fussing (eventually) to listen. I don't know how I'm going to manage memory verses with a kid who is mostly nonverbal and who rarely sits still long enough to be read to. Isaiah is extremely observant (see here for a description of just how observant) so maybe Ethan saying his memory verses will make an impression on him.

Sophia and Ethan are usually in the bathroom while I go through the thank you God routine with Isaiah. Ethan surprised me this week by taking over from me while I was getting him dressed. He grabbed his pants, held them up, and said, "Thank you God for pants!" Then he went on to thank God for his socks, and his shirts (he was wearing two of them), and his bath, and lots of other things right up until I started combing his hair. Then he was totally dedicated to getting away from me and the comb.

Sophia watches while I do all of these things with Ethan and Isaiah. Hopefully it is making an impression on her.


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