Windows of Opportunity for Faith-building
Today's article comes to us from Sister Renee Scolaro, who reflects on the many times the Lord built her faith throughout childhood and adolescence.
What is a “window of opportunity"? Oxford defines it as “a favorable opportunity for doing something that must be seized immediately.”
According to one source, windows of opportunity for children are optimum periods for specific areas of development. These are the times when learning in a specific area can develop at an incredible rate. These windows are only effective if there are effective environmental stimuli with which the child can interact. Most of these windows make it easier for a child to learn a certain ability. If a window is missed, it doesn’t mean that a child can’t learn a new skill, it just means that it will take more effort.
What guidance does God give on windows of opportunity for children?
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul … And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“But ye will teach them [your children] to walk in the ways of truth and soberness.” (Mosiah 4:15)
When I was a child, my parents taught me two prayers, one for mealtime and the other for bedtime. These prayers taught the basics of faith in God and Jesus, my Savior. I can remember praying these prayers until the time I gained understanding to create my own prayers. You may have been taught them as well…
“God is Great, God is Good, and we thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Give us Lord our daily bread.”
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray Thee Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee Lord my soul to take.”
At the age of 5, I witnessed my first miracle through faith on Jesus. I was prone to nosebleeds. One particular time, the bleeding was profuse. My concerned parents considered taking me to the ER. I told them, “Don’t worry, Jesus will take care of me.” Within minutes, the bleeding stopped! How did I know Jesus would take care of me? Was it something my parents taught? Was it inspired by the Holy Spirit? Was it learned through praying? Did I learn it at church? All of the above?
In fifth grade, I witnessed another miracle. One night, I earnestly prayed to the Lord to help me pass an exam the next day. I forgot to bring the grammar assignment home to study. My best friend, who was smarter than I, didn’t bring the assignment home either. She had felt confident she knew the material. I did the best I could to study, using my parents’ reference dictionary. The next day, when the teacher administered the test, I was surprised and relieved. The content was formatted identically to the material in the dictionary! I took the test with confidence. I earned 100 percent and scored higher than my best friend! God is Great!
When in eleventh grade, I thought to myself, “I would like to get straight A’s at least once.” Usually I earned A’s and B’s and occasionally a C. Maybe I should have been satisfied, but my younger brother and sister got straight A’s often, even consistently, and my father rewarded us with a silver half-dollar for every A earned. I determined to put extra effort into studying and prayed to get straight A’s.
It was stressful. When report cards came, I anxiously looked at my grades. I received all A’s and was elated! I proudly showed my parents my report card. God is Good! After that experience, I was satisfied and didn’t feel the need to pressure myself for all A’s again!
My childhood experiences were faith-building. Throughout my life, I was privileged to know that I could turn to God for help. In college, I prayed often and fasted as needed over assignments, knowing that I could not achieve the desired results on my own, and God always came through.
At the age of 20, I came to the realization that God was very good to me. I needed to give Him my whole heart, but I wrestled between wanting to serve Him and wanting to be “free.” (Which, in reality, was captivity.) After listening to a convicting sermon, I determined to fast and pray for my chains to be broken. The following Sunday, I was visited by the Holy Spirit (witnessed in a vision by a sister sitting behind me in church) and declared my desire to serve the Lord. God rescued me from Satan’s power and made me free!
I don’t fear dying before I wake because I know the Lord my soul will take! I am thankful for the guidance of my parents and opportunities to know the Lord in my childhood!
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.