Just kidding about that last part, but they could change a lot of things about how you talk about faith.
If your house is anything like mine, the bath time and bedtime routine can often turn into a soul-sucking vortex of blood, sweat, and tears. All evening long, I feel like I’m herding cats. But not even nice cats. I’m talking about the mean kind of cats who hiss and scratch and ignore you when you speak.
Oh? No? Your kids quietly and efficiently bathe, spend 20 minutes in meaningful prayer, and tuck themselves in? In that case, MINE TOO! I WAS TOTALLY KIDDING ABOUT WHAT I SAID EARLIER.
But seriously, as soon as dinner is over, and it’s time to head toward bedtime, I take a deep breath and steel myself for the impending negotiations, requests, and resistance. By the time I finally get my two girls clean and in the respective beds, the last thing either of us have the energy for is deep or spiritual conversations.
So about a year ago, my family started doing something different. We decided to leverage the only time we’re really together and looking at each other’s faces. We decided to leverage dinnertime.
No matter where we are (and let’s be honest, it’s Chick-Fil-A or the Mexican restaurant down the road maaaaannnny nights), we begin our meal with three questions. That’s right. We don’t bless our food before we eat it. You’ll see why. Standby.
Instead of a blessing, we all take turns answering these three questions:
1. What was your funny bunny today? (I’m not really sure where “funny bunny” came from, but normal families will probably just ask: “What was something funny that happened today?”)
2. What was your high today?
3. What was your low today?
By starting with a lighthearted question, both girls are automatically engaged in the conversation. They want to participate. They want to laugh at everyone’s “funny bunny,” and they especially want everyone to laugh at their own.
We use our “highs” as something we can thank God for, and we use our “lows” as something we can ask for help, healing, or forgiveness. Then, we close the meal out with prayer, making sure to mention all the specific things that happened during the day.
For us, shifting these questions to mealtime has been a family-wide favorite tradition. It gives us connecting points. It keeps everyone aware of the others’ needs, hurts, and successes. It teaches our girls to ask questions and to listen. It teaches our girls to pray specifically and intentionally. Hey, it’s taught me the same thing.
Now, we still pray right before bed, and we even have a short devotional we read out of. Half the time, the girls are giggling and poking each other beneath the covers, but God’s Word is powerful, and it’s planting seeds that will grow and bloom as we continue to teach them to prioritize family and faith.
(Confession: Sometimes I am also giggling and poking them beneath the covers. But it’s because I’m ridiculously relieved that we’ve cut down on the length of the bedtime routine!)