By Cameron Clark
My oldest daughter, Ainsley, had been having a real hard time going to sleep at night since her little sister was born in early April. Ainsley would find a way to stay up (as late as 10:30), stay around her mama, daddy, and sister, and would make us pay dearly should we dare to put her to bed before she passed out on the floor. Of all the new situations coming our way as a family since our latest arrival, this was the most intolerable. How we fixed it was by a happy mistake.
Ainsley loves to read, sing, and dance. She really is one of the happiest children I have ever been around, and seeing her throw fits and run herself into the ground was hard to watch as a daddy. The conclusion: Let her do what she loves.
We tried to let her dance, but she partied right on through the night (a habit her daddy hopes changes before she goes off to college). We tried to let her sing, but she sang until midnight. So, we tried reading.
We suspected reading to be the least effective solution because she is read to so much during the day that she seems bored by it when the evening rolls around. What book could we look to that she doesn't know already by heart? The answer jumped up and slapped me in the face last Tuesday night.
It had been sitting in Ainsley's bookcase on the second to the bottom shelf collecting dust for almost the entire two years we've lived in Kansas City: Her Children's Bible.
As I stared at the cover before reaching for it, I felt so ashamed that I had neglected to share these stories with her before. We pray with her at night, but I thought the stories of God's love were somehow not suitable for Ainsley's age, and had instead opted to read stories about different sized dogs, a curious little monkey, mice running from cats, and Aubie's big day at the football game. How silly of me. I should have known better.
Nine days ago we began reading from the beginning: where The Word was God, and The Word was with God. We have had nine nights of perfect sleep for Ainsley starting at 8:30 each night. No fits, no tantrums, no crying after being put down. She sits in my lap, puts her hands behind her head and listen to her daddy read with love, the story of her Father's love. A prayer later, and she's off to bed. Sound asleep, safe in her bed for the night.
Is it quality time spent reading with her father that has led to this relief for us all? Or is it quality time spent learning about The Father that has had this effect? Maybe a little of both.
We're cruising through the Exodus tonight, and her daddy might be as excited as she is re-learning the old stories as she is hearing them for the first time. Her daddy sleeps a little better too after reading the stories of love all over again.
Looking forward to tonight!
Have a great Friday!