3 Simple Words to Help Children Apply Their Faith

"Mom, do you know what my teacher told us yesterday about George Washington?" My third-grader piped up from the backseat as I shifted into reverse, ready to back the minivan out of the garage. "I do!" I replied, but then suddenly my kindergartner gasped.

"Mom! Did you bring my dinosaur book??"

Oops. I did promise I'd carry the book since her hands were full of other school gear when we walked out the door. Bugger.

"Hold that thought," I told my older daughter as I shifted back into park, ran inside the house to grab the book, then settled again in the driver's seat.

"Okay, lovey, now tell me, what's the news about George Washington?"

"Grrr ... Now I forgot what I was going to say!" She growled into the rear-view mirror. "All because of her stupid dinosaur book!!"

Whoa. Wait a second. Violation flags came flying at me from all directions. First of all, we do not allow the word "stupid" in our house (or in the minivan) — and my daughter knows that. Second, little sister was not trying to ruin a conversation; she was saving her forgetful mother from having to backtrack all the way home ten minutes later because one way or another, that darn book had to make it to school. It was dinosaur week in kindergarten, people. Important stuff. And third, what's with the sudden attitude?

I could've reprimanded my daughter for multiple offenses at that moment. But instead, I said this:

"Check your heart."

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