Meaning Filled Moments
Communicating our Love
We care for them, we feed them, we bathe them, we teach them right from wrong, we help them understand money, we bring them to events, we take them to the doctor. We commmunicate our love and care in so many ways. Yet for some reason when it comes to communicating to our kids about God, even Bible teachers can feel inadequate.
Our days are filled with little moments, many of them mundane, but a faithful parent can leverage those moments and fill them with meaning.
There are potentially several reasons for this, but there are also several solutions we can do as parents to fight our feelings of inadequacy and engage our children in meaningful, God-centered conversation.
Reasons we neglecting Meaningful conversations
We are too Busy
This is partially true, the question is, is it a good excuse? Sometimes we are so busy that it can be hard to make time to sit down with our children and have meaningful conversations.
Even when we are at home, we can feel to busy to capitolize on the moments we have with our children.
We Underestimate our Children
Children are smarter than many of us truely believe. God created them to soak up knowledge, so even at an early age they are listening and learning all the time.
We Don't Believe they will Listen
Many parents, especially of the very little or teenagers, believe that their children are not listening. Sometimes it is hard to get there attention and they don't seem to want to talk, so we assume they are not listening.
Some children are inundated with distraction and therefore are not listening. But if the distraction is removed parents may find a child who is eager for their attention.
Thing to Do to Pave the Way for a Meaningful Conversation
Put Down the Phone/Tablet/Laptop/TV Remote
Sometimes the reason it is hard to keep our children's attention is because they don't have ours. Make it a point to not have your phone out, your tablet near, or the TV on while your children are awake.
Protect the Times of Family Togetherness
Meaningful conversations will never happen if our families never sit down together. That is why it is important to find the times where the family naturally gathers together and protect that time from schedule or distration.
Be Ready to Ask Questions
Sometimes Children will ask very important questions, but they cannot be the ones counted on to begin all meaningful conversations. Parents should be ready to engage with questions.
Don't Neglect the Moment
Sometimes the every day moments are easily forgotten. Blown away in the whirlwind of life. We tend to think only of the long term results and forget that a heartfelt word about God at bed time or morning declaration of the gospel can have as much significance as a full on bible study every afternoon . Use every opportunity that life presents as an opportunity to bring your child to their King.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 offer a template for this kind of sharing with our children,
5 You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
If not You, then Who?
Meaningful conversations shape the way children view the world. At an early age children understand that dad and mom have a lot of answers and so they frequently ask questions. But eventually the world also becomes a source of insight and is often more willing to express "it's" thoughts and opinions. If parents are not active in helping their children understand the world as created by God and that they are under His rule and plan, then they will learn the answers from someone else.
Christian parents have the tendency to say, "if the world is trying to teach my children wrong things, then the church needs to be teaching them the right things." But who does God give that responsibility to?
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We, Christian parents, must joyfully accept our responsibility to love and care for our children by engagin them in conversations that will be faith and worldview shaping. As we talk with them and display authentic faith in a true and living God, Our children will learn to love the God who has set the world in place, watched it patiently as the people rebelled and then has sacrifieced Himself to bring His people back.
Teach them of Him!