Blogging 31 for 21 continues with Teaching Tuesday:
Today, I will teach you how I taught Jaycee- an 8 year old sign language using non-verbal child with Down syndrome- about baptism.
1. I guess it goes without saying that the first step was to live out our Christian faith. We go to church every Sunday unless there is an illness or she's in isolation for a medical reason. We listen to Christian music. We pray together. We talk about God. When she's sick, we pray for her. At Christmas and Easter, we really talk about what that means. Basically, I think the first step was to set the foundation for years.
2. When baptizing became an idea, I understood that many Christians believe salvation is the precursor. So, for months off and on, I would say things to Jaycee like, "God loves you. He sent his son Jesus to die for you. Do you love God? Do you believe in Jesus?" Basically, I asked her simple questions and talked about the essential salvation points. Sometimes, she would do her grunt for yes and sometimes she would say nothing. I had these little conversations here and there for months. Jaycee cannot talk. Therefore, she cannot say a traditional prayer of salvation.
3. After some time, I talked to our pastor about baptizing Jaycee. We came up with a plan that we were all comfortable. Instead of getting baptized during a service, we would do Jaycee after the service by herself. This way Jaycee could take her time and have her family close to her. With a tentative date in mind, I worked on these next steps.
4. I wrote out a book for Jaycee that hit the major beliefs Christians have, why someone gets baptized, and what happens in a baptism. There was nothing fancy about it. But, I know Jaycee learns from repetition, and I have used books like this in the past to teach other things. It's a good strategy for her. She liked the book. We read it regularly.
5. Next, it was time to bring in youtube. There's several videos there of people getting baptized. We watched some of these. We even watched a video clip of Jesus getting baptized. Jaycee enjoyed the videos, and I explained what was happening as we watched them.
Elijah said, "Jaycee, this looks scary." He didn't help my cause!
6. The final step was to practice in water. I wasn't too worried about this step because Jaycee loves swimming and water. But, I wanted her to practice sitting in the bathtub filled with water and leaning back. I never took her head completely under the water. I did dunk her enough to get her hair wet but I didn't want to scare her by taking her nose and mouth underwater. I didn't feel that part was important since she just had to have that part done officially once. She tolerated the bathtub practice just fine. In fact, she liked doing it. She would gesture for me to baptize her again.
So you might be wondering, how did Jaycee do after all that preparation?
Just fine! She did it with no problems! She was a pro!
Sunday, October 19th was a day to celebrate!!