The mixture of laughter, shouting, toy cars crashing, cash registers dinging, and stray cheerios crunching beneath my feet filled my ears. The room whirled in perpetual motion: an array of freeze dancing, Bible sheet coloring, and workers engaged with smiles and laughter (okay, and sometimes frustration). Out of the corner of my eye I spied M(name altered) on the floor. While everyone else remained happily engaged in play, M was putting the blocks up, one by one. He carefully positioned them such that they all fit into the bucket, then placed them on the shelf before it was time for him to go home. I thought, “This is so worth it.”

If this scene doesn’t sound familiar, I’m referring to the Brook Hills Preschool Ministry. When asked to write about something for which I am thankful, your kids were one of the first things that came to mind. Why? Because every week countless volunteers receive the privilege not merely of looking after your kids, but of being inspired by them and by you. Whether you know it or not, your countless hours of raising and discipling your children profoundly impacts their lives in ways that are easy to miss in the day-to-day grind of life. In an age where our society screams, “Woe are we for the next generation!” I take incredible comfort that Brook Hills is, through the grace of God working in us, raising a generation of passionate followers of Christ. I wanted to list a few of those ways for which I am especially thankful.

  1. Caring for the Orphan - My first week serving I was pleasantly surprised to see how many children were adopted—the ratio was incredibly high when compared with much of society. How many terrible, absent home lives have been rescued through the religion of James 1:27 practically working out in your lives as parents?
  2. Biblical Knowledge - Seriously! Your kids know the Word of God. And not only do they know the stories for the sake of entertainment or informational transfer, they grasp the connections to Christ and His work on the cross. Their ability to memorize scripture and retain the previous week’s lesson is producing lasting spiritual nourishment in their lives.
  3. Gospel Unity - This plays out primarily in three ways: their relationships to each other, their teachers, and to you as parents. There are no racial, gender, or personality distinctions in our class. The amount of unity between these kids is evidence of the gospel working in their lives. They build valuable friendships and help those in need. Their obedience and respect of their teachers makes our lives as volunteers considerably easier and will carry these children far in life as they learn submission and leadership. Their love of their parents is the most encouraging to me. Nowadays, children often dread being picked up by their parents because of dysfunctional home lives. Yet every single one of our children cannot wait to run into their mother, father, and sibling’s arms at the end of class. This familial love effectively demonstrates Christ’s love for His church and provides a comforting foundation that home is a place of delight and not dread for these kids.

There are innumerable examples of ways in which your service as parents is playing out in your children’s lives, but I’ll suffice it to say that you are being awesome stewards of Matthew 18:10 - “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Thank you!

Austin Aldrich is a software developer by day and writer by night. He enjoys serving as a Men’s Small Group leader and as a preschool ministry volunteer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and playing music. He’s been attending The Church at Brook Hills since January 2014.