"Square up your body. Pull the puck back. Shift your weight to your back leg. Push the puck forward as you shift your weight from one leg to the other. Point your stick in the direction you want the puck to go."
I don't know how many times I repeated those words to my youngest as we spent an hour practicing her hockey shooting on the driveway last night. It sure sounds like I know what I'm talking about, right?
But there's something you should know. I have never shot a hockey puck in a game in my life. I have absolutely no idea what that feels like. I had to have her coach demonstrate the mechanics of shooting to me at her last practice so I could help her improve.
Unlike many of the kids on her hockey team, my daughter has two parents who know very little about the mechanics of the game. I've been watching hockey my whole life. My brother played youth hockey. I've watched enough to understand the strategy and know where she should be on the ice at certain times. But I have no idea how to tell her to perform a hockey stop, how to shoot the puck, how to stickhandle or how to skate backwards. She's at a distinct disadvantage in that respect.
But, unlike my youngest, we are not at a disadvantage when it comes to Jesus knowing what we are going through. Because Jesus became a man, walked on the earth and died for us, He knows everything that we experience as humans. He understands the emotions, the frustrations and the joys of living in this world because He did it. Hebrews 4:15 tells us "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin."
Jesus gets it. He understands what it's like to be tempted to sin. He understands what it's like to have a rotten week. He understands what it's like to have others talk behind your back. Because He lived it. He can understand and empathize with our situation.
Just like us, our kids need to know that Jesus understands their situation. They need to be reminded that Jesus was once a kid, too. We don't have a lot of information about Jesus as a child, but we do know that He had a mom and dad and brothers and sisters. He got left at the temple. He probably didn't always agree with His siblings. The difference between Jesus and a regular kid is that even as a child He never sinned. But He can understand everything that your kids are going through because He was once a child, too.
Help your kids understand the importance of Jesus being in human in how He can relate to us:
- Ask your kids to explain to you how to do something that they have never done before. Choose something outrageous like flying an airplane or cooking a turkey. See what they have to say. Then, talk about what that task really looks like. Talk about how difficult it is to tell someone how to do things we have never done ourselves. Remind them that Jesus lived on earth as a man, so He understands all the things that your kids do. He knew what it was like to obey your parents and get along with your siblings.
- Learn something new with your child. Make a new recipe or build a new Lego creation. Do something that requires following directions. Talk about how the person who wrote the directions had to have done the task before. Otherwise, that person would be giving directions about something they knew nothing about. The directions are much easier to follow because that person had done them before. Tell your child that Jesus is like the person who wrote the directions. He came to earth and lived as a man. That means He understands everything that we go through. He understands our emotions and our temptations. He knows what it's like to have your friends turn against you and what it's like to have others disapprove of your actions. He understands because He was here.
It's so important for our kids to realize the Jesus became a man. Yes, He was a perfect man, but He experienced all the trials and joys of being human. When we bring our troubles and tough situations to Him, He can relate because He has been there.
Jesus's death and resurrection offers us salvation and power, but His life as a man allows Him to offer us understanding and empathy.
Remember, there's no situation in your life or your kids' lives that Jesus can't understand. He's not stuck relying on someone else's knowledge to help us. He's been there and done that. And that's to our advantage.