You’ve already seen on the blog that we believe parents are highly influential.  In fact, while the average church leader gets about 40 hours a year with your son or daughter, a full time working parent who gets eight hours of sleep each night and doesn’t homeschool has 3000 hours of influence with a child over a year.  Seriously.

What do you do with all that influence?

We want to encourage you to create a rhythm at home that makes conversation about God normal.

Here’s the thinking: Every family already has a rhythm.  Yours does. Mine does.  And what happens in that rhythm becomes ‘normal’ for the kids.   If you grew up in a musician’s home, it might be normal to have artists around playing music.   For others, it’s just normal to see mom and dad out on long runs or it’s normal to never miss a football game.  In other families, it might be normal to build furniture or make custom jewelry. Whatever shows up in the rhythm of every day life in our homes is perceived both to be ‘normal’ and to have value.

The question is: how does God get worked into the rhythm?  See, sometimes God is someone who shows up on Sunday, but is absent the rest of the week.  Not because he’s not important, but because he doesn’t have a role in our daily rhythm.  For others, God shows up in our life over the week, but he’s kind of awkward.  You know the ‘okay-now-that-dinner’s-done-let’s-read-the-bible-any-questions-can-we-be-excused’ drill?  God’s there, but the dialogue’s just not normal…not yet.

Here’s what’s true: the younger your kids are, the easier it is to create a rhythm. There’s craft time, play time, nap time, meal time…you get the picture. Life is so structured, so it’s easier to regularly incorporate faith into the rhythm of life. But the older they get, the more creative and purposed you have to be about creating a rhythm.

When our kids were younger, we prayed with the nightly and read the bible regularly together.  We used the take-home resoucres from church to amplify at home what was happening at church.  But beyond that, my wife Toni and I tried to weave conversation about our faith into spontaneous moments too – in the same way you might talk about a great movie, a friend or sports.

As our kids entered their teen years, that spontaneous conversation has become so important.  We sometimes read the Bible as a family, but we’ve largely moved toward personal devotions for all of us (after all, faith ultimately has to become personal for everyone).  I often find long car rides to be great times to dig into faith and life issues.  It doesn’t happen every day, but what I’m so grateful for is that it still feels ‘normal’.

How about you?  What age are your kids and what has become a best practice in your family for focusing your priorities on what matters most?

What’s working for you?  What have you tried that isn’t working so well?