Most of my days are spent as a nanny to three wonderful, tiny humans (ages 3, 1, and four months).
We frequently have a “what’s your job, what’s my job?” conversation. It usually follows a a defiant response or a directive given and it goes like this:
Me to babies: What’s your job?
Lilli (the 3 year old, and the only one who can, as of now, verbally communicate this routine): To listen and obey.
Me: And what’s my job?
Lilli: To keep us safe and train us to walk in righteousness.
The conversation goes further than that, but part of fulfilling the latter part of my “job,” includes filling their hearts and minds with books, songs, stories, and words that drive their thoughts, hearts, and affections to the only righteous One. In our story, that looks like constantly engaging them in conversations about life, who made them and everything they love, and ultimately driving everything back to the Gospel. It also includes encouraging their wonder, memorizing catechisms with them, making lists of thankfulness, repenting in front of and to them, and praying with them. I guess it could be summed up by saying it looks like loving and serving them joyfully and both correcting and giving them grace as Christ has done for me.
Additionally, we sing and read pretty much all the time. Here are some of my favorite Gospel-centered resources for that.
RESOURCES FOR KIDS
Confession: Before last spring, I was firmly against music designed for kids. In my head, that meant a Christianized (and therefore even cheesier) version of KidzBop and I believed (and still do) that kids were (are) capable of understanding, enjoying, and grasping the meaning of “adult” worship songs. We don’t need to dumb down truth for our babies; they, like adults, will rise as we teach them the deep doctrines of Scripture.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend strongly encouraged me to listen to the following that I even entertained the idea of “Christian” kids music. Because I trust him, I listened to Sovereign Grace’s The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New and, let me tell you, I am now an advocate for the following music.
The babies and I love The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New and Listen Up!, those are our favorite albums, but I highly recommend all the music from Sovereign Grace. This “kids” music is packed with more theology and sound doctrine than most churches. My babies love these songs and have pretty much memorized the entire The Ology album. It’s pretty spectacular to hear a one year old singing how sin is the scariest and Jesus is “totally God, totally man.” This is a gift to the church and to this nanny.
Here’s a Spotify playlist with all the Sovereign Grace Kids music.
Sometimes you just need a little rap in your life, right? Also, there’s not a lot of things better than hearing toddlers sing theological hiphop and realizing they’ve not only memorized the words but all the ad libs as well. I’ve been a fan of Shai Linne (and his wife) for years and my appreciation for his work and ministry grew with the release of his children’s book (more on that in the next section) and his Jesus Kids album. The kids love this album (especially “Gotta Know the Books” and “God Made Me and You”) as well as The Attributes of God.
Shai Linne on Spotify (Jesus Kids is only available through his website, iTunes, Google Play or Amazon Music)
Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Spoiler: This is my go-to baby shower or toddler birthday gift. However, because it’s the timeless truth of Jesus, it’s just as beautiful and wonderful and necessary for adults of any age as it is for babies.
God Made Me and You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity by Shai Linne
As mentioned above, we love Shai Linne, especially this book. Add it to your library (and its truth to your heart), no matter how old you are.
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung
This book comes in the full version as well as an ABC board book edition. I recommend both.
“Because their theology will come from somewhere.”
As a theology nerd, I am grateful and excited Tiny Theologians exists. I love their church history flash cards as well as their attributes of God ABC flashcards (these are currently on sale too—snag them while you can!).
“Tiny Theologians is a line of discipleship tools for the youngest members of God’s household. We created them to help parents intentionally impart the Christian faith onto their children, teaching them about theology, church history, missions, and discipleship.”
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS/NANNIES
Abbey Wedgeworth (Gentle Leading)
Abbey is a fellow writer on Unlocking the Bible and I love her. She is full of wisdom, grace, and humility. She is real and kind and funny, and the Gospel overflows in all her words and life. She is a gift to the kingdom and to me as a nanny and fellow Christ-follower.
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
Disclaimer right up front: I haven’t read this book yet. However, trusted friends have highly recommended it and because of that and from the snippets I’ve read, I will recommend it with them.
The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore
This was one of my favorite books of 2018 and is now my go-to wedding shower gift (along with Love and Respect). I highly, highly recommend it for soon-to-be parents, couples considering marriage, or those married or have children already. So rich. So good.
Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell Moore
This book was so helpful for me, not just because I love adoption, but because it helped me love Jesus more and recognize that He loves—not just tolerates—me too. Staggering. Such a gift. Read this book.
RESOURCES FOR OLDER KIDS/TEENS
This podcast is hosted by one of my college friends, Nick Calhoon. Nick, a youth pastor at Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, Kentucky, started Minivan Moments as a way to get parents and teenagers talking. It is a 10-minute weekly podcast and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a gift to families and the church and has been so helpful not only for creating conversations between parents and their kids, but between me and some of the students I disciple, me and my boyfriend (we listened to the first episode on a road trip the day it came out), and between me and the Lord. This week’s episode (#5 Finish Well) was a gift for my heart; providentially timed and so helpful. Regardless if you have kids or not, this is worth your time.
Nick Calhoun on Twitter
Minivan Moments on Twitter
Minivan Moments on Apple Podcasts
Jaquelle (Crowe) Ferris
As I’ve said before, Jaquelle Ferris is a gift to the church, one God is using to awaken, teach, and influence a generation of teenagers for the glory of Jesus and the advancement of His Gospel. I’m so thankful for her ministry and friendship and all God is doing in and through her. Read every ounce of her stuff then give it away to every teenager (and person who comes in contact with teenagers) you know.
I know there are so many other amazing, solid resources out there, but those are my recommendations for now. I’d love to hear from you—what resources have helped you and which ones would you recommend for parents, kids, or nannies?
Waffles, Authority, and the Color Pink
Three Ways We Act Like A Child (Spiritually)
Five More Things I’ve Learned While Nannying