There are plenty of things my husband and I would change about how we’ve parented over the last 20 years, but if we could go back in time, there are a few things we would do all over again. I’ve already shared how we are glad we chose to imagine the end and say words that build. Here’s another one we learned to do over time:
We would, without a doubt, choose to Connect Everyday Moments to God’s Story, again.
The idea to do this was actually born out of great frustration. Over time, two of our favorite words, when put together, began making us cringe inside:
I love the idea of family devotions. I know some families who rock them, and I wanted to be that family so bad. But we were not. And we are still not. No, for my family it looked a little more like this:
I would buy a new book, again.
We would gather the kids around with hopes of listening ears and great discussions, again.
There would be zero discussion, again.
Kids would be rolling around on the floor. Staring at a bug on the wall. Blowing spit bubbles. Poking each other with a silent grin.
At times, our family devotion produced more ungodly behavior than godly behavior!
We could see it in their faces. It’s like they were saying, “Yeah, that story about Jonah is great, but what about me?”
We knew we needed to find a better way of connecting our kids to God’s story. That’s when we began looking for opportunities to talk about God and connect a real life experience in our kids’ lives to something God wants us to know about Him. Over time, we began to see the power in doing this. Talking about God, what the Bible says, and how it connects to our lives became something we did every day, any time of day. And it just worked for us. We stopped being so hard on ourselves and allowed our “family devotions” to look more like this:
– Thanking God for our food before we eat, no matter where we are.
– Thanking God for the day and talking about what’s on our heart before we go to bed. A simple “How’s your heart?” when we tuck them in gets the conversation going.
– Reminding our kids to work hard at school or doing chores, like they’re working for God and not for people.
– Praying with our kids for the people who hurt their feelings, because God wants us to love our enemies.
– When we see an ambulance pass by we pray that the person in trouble knows Jesus and that they get the help they need.
– Teaching our kids to honor their teacher’s position as their authority, even when they don’t feel like honoring the person.
– Encouraging them to share because that’s what it looks like to treat others the way we want to be treated.
– Talking about what God wants for them in a spouse when they became interested in boyfriends/girlfriends.
– Encouraging them to be humble when they win.
– Encouraging them to celebrate others when they lose.
The list is neverending because every day offers new experiences to connect our kids to God. But in order to take advantage of all the opportunities, there are two things to keep in mind:
- The more familiar you are with God’s story, the better you will be able to connect your kids to it. Reading the Bible regularly equips you to have these natural conversations.
- You have to be an active listener and observer of your kids. This can be hard because our tendency as parents is to talk more than we listen.
When we began looking at everyday moments as possible God-talk moments, our “family devotion” turned into a continuous conversation instead of a set, blocked off time each day—that if we missed we felt like a failure and had to wait until the next day at the set “devotion” time to try again. What we have seen happen in our kids as they’ve entered their teen and young adult years is that they feel comfortable talking about God and praying whenever, not just at a specific set time.
For us, it has never been about our kids just learning the Bible stories and being able to retell all the facts about the stories. We want our kids to know that God’s story is still being written and they are a part of that story—that everything they choose to say and do becomes a part of God’s story too.
What makes talking about God with your kids a challenge? What are some specific things you can do to have more natural conversations about God with your kids?