The Gap Theory
Dawn Hennessy

Not long ago, I realized that one of my teens could not tell time on an analog clock. It shouldn’t surprise me, as we have digital clocks everywhere. How to read an analog clock is just one of the hundreds of things I have taught my children that they don’t remember!

Years ago, a friend reminded me that no matter how we raise our children, there will always be gaps in their learning, and that’s okay. We cannot teach our children everything, nor can we expect them to remember everything we teach them. I was worried about my homeschooling methods but realized that no system was perfect. Whichever type of schooling we chose, homeschool, public, or private, would leave gaps in their education and life in general. What a huge relief this was in my journey of motherhood!

No matter how well we parent, we will not be able to teach our kids everything they need in life. This happens for several reasons – we might overlook something, life becomes so busy we don’t think about teaching them something, our child doesn’t remember it, or we simply don’t know the information to pass it along. In the end, our children are left with gaps in whatever their knowledge is.

As parents, we sometimes obsess over the fact that we must ensure our kids get every little bit of knowledge we have. We want them to go out into the world wholly prepared for whatever comes their way, but this is an impossible task!

I realized I had to prioritize which gaps were the most important to fill, and those were the areas where I needed to speak or teach about not just once, twice or even ten times, but continuously in their lives. I also realized that my husband and I had different priorities. I wanted them to learn things like how to clean the bathroom and write an essay. My husband wanted them to know self-defense and how to handle firearms properly. As parents, we automatically prioritize things based on our own experiences in life and what we do best. I love that my husband and I have different strengths!

We both want our kids prepared to take care of their homes someday. We want them to be able to cook something more than Top Ramen or Kraft Mac and Cheese. We want them to remember things like don’t forget to change the oil in their car or how to do their laundry. All those skills are wonderful for creating well-rounded adults, but even if we never teach them to cook a meal or sweep a floor, there is one gap we NEVER want to leave: the importance of God in their lives.

Ultimately, I don’t care if my children remember everything about algebra, biology, how to cook, or how to take care of the lawn because all of that is so insignificant compared to living a life as a follower of Christ. More than anything, I want my kids to know what is in God’s word, come to know who He is and love God more than anything. For the rest of their lives, I want them to desire to continue studying God’s word so that they cannot be led astray by the world.

Sadly though, no matter what we do, our children might not choose to have a relationship with Christ, but I do not want it to be because I did not fill that gap with all the knowledge of Christ that I could pass on. For those that came to God later in life, it is not too late for your children to see God in your life! You might not have them around daily if they are grown and out of the house, but they can still hear you share God’s goodness and what He has done for you. They can still see the change in your life. Even though you might feel hopeless at times for their salvation, remember God got ahold of you as an adult, and He can get ahold of their hearts as well. There is power in prayer!! Don’t ever stop praying for your children, no matter their age. God alone can soften their hearts and draw them to Him.

With our adult children, teens, and little ones, we must keep having those Godly conversations. We need to keep encouraging and pointing our children to God! That might look like a daily lesson taught primarily for those with younger children but remember that Godly conversations can be woven into all sorts of conversations. If you don’t think you have the wisdom to respond to something, pray with your child in the moment so they know you need God’s wisdom too. Our children don’t need to see us as having all the answers but living our lives trusting that God does!

It doesn’t matter if we have been a Christian for five minutes or for years! Living a Christian life is a journey that will continue to fill all our days. The gaps in our lives and our children’s lives can only be filled by growing in God, reading His word, and discovering who He is more every day. Satan wants nothing more than to come in and fill those gaps with his lies and worldly priorities. Let’s fill the gaps with the truth of God!

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Psalms 119:105

Let’s talk about it…

  • Do you feel like you or your children have gaps that need to be filled?
  • How do you prioritize what you teach your children to fill those gaps?
  • What priorities would others, your children, or grandchildren, say you have in your life?
  • How can you do better at filling your gaps and your children’s gaps with the word of God?