For years we have heard the importance of family devotions. Taking time as a family each night to read a passage of God's word, spending a few moments in prayer, and growing as a family all sounds good and exciting but, we suck at it!
Anyone else in the same boat?
It's not that we don't want to do family devotions, believe me, we've tried. Over and over, we have tried to create some kind of regular opportunity to explore God's word with our kids. Some seasons we've done well, using various books, object lessons, or holiday themed devotionals. But in other seasons, well, we just failed.
But worse than not being able to lead family devotions, is the guilt and shame we often feel when we hear that we SHOULD be having family devotions. EPIC fail!!
1. Go To Church Together
As a family, we make every effort to be at church together as a family. Attending church together is our first act in training up our children. We've determined that our Sunday morning priority is worship. We believe that the role of discipleship is from parent to child and it begins as we attend church together. Worship, Sunday School, and youth group in the evenings. For us, Sunday means we are in church.
When parents make church a priority, it demonstrates the level of commitment they have in their relationship with God, and places God at the forefront of all things family. But more than church, or corporate worship, as parents, you need to also put a priority on Sunday school, Bible studies, the children's ministry, junior high ministry, and high school ministry among other church related activities. It's not just attendance, but participation. Involving yourself and your family, helps to show your children the importance of establishing a lifestyle that puts God first. It also emphasizes the significance of corporate worship, bible study, fellowship and what it looks like to be a part of the body of Christ.
Does it mean church is the ONLY thing we do on a Sunday? NO. But, it's the first and most important thing. Our teenagers know that they cannot work their part-time jobs on Sunday mornings. And while there have been one or two occasions, for the most part, they have been able to keep that commitment. Sports, very rarely have our kids missed church for a sporting event. We either miss the game or make arrangements that we attend an earlier service.
2. Use Seasonal Devotional Resources
One of the fun holiday traditions that we practice throughout the year is making use of holiday devotional resources. Whether it's a storybook or short devotional booklet, we use different resources that help our kids focus on the season or holiday that we preparing to celebrate. For example, each Christmas we read one of the Advent books associated with Jotham's Journey. We shared these books in a blog post titled, Celebrate Advent With One of These Books. These books are an incredible way to help your kids prepare for Christmas. There are a number of resources like these, and they are perfect for short-term family devotions.
Aside from published storybooks or devotionals, seasons like Advent and Lent, allow for the setting aside of the normal routines for something a little more holiday related. Both seasons have a time of preparation, four Sunday's in Advent, 40 days in Lent. As a family, you might decided to set something aside during this time. Maybe you choose to go out somewhere to serve as a family. Perhaps this it just a time where your families unplugs from their devices and committees to family dinner hour or game night or movie night.
However you decide to spend your time, be sure to take advantage of the time to talk about what that holiday season means to you, your family, and your faith. Explain why your faith tradition celebrates Advent or Lent. It's not always easy, but with a little work, you can create new traditions around the holidays.
Just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!"
3. Engage with Your Kids as they are Growing Up.
Dinner time can be a special time for your family, and a great time to engage with your kids to talk about the things that are happening in the culture around them. Just turn on the TV and listen to the news, go to the movies, watch a TV sitcom or pay attention to the commercials; you will find plenty of material to talk about. From current events to music, movies, even products, our kids are growing up in difficult times. The dinner hour serves as a great way to talk about some of the issues and topics their seeing in the media. It might take a little homework on your part to educate yourself, but it will be a benefit for you and your time as a family. As you talk, you can discuss what they see happening from a Christian worldview.
Does it mean that every dinner is a topical debate or lecture? No. We don't have serious conversation at every meal. Just watch our family vlog as we sit around the table. It's not always hard hitting discussion. In fact, just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!" Is poop appropriate talk at the table? Well, if it's what they're learning at school, yes!
The point is, make the effort to have dinner together as a family, but instead of stuffing our faces, take the time to slow down and talk! If you can't have a regular family dinner hour, use the time in the car, driving to and from sporting events or school activities or even while you're running errands to talk with your kids. Turn off the radio and have them take the ear plugs out, and talk. They might reject the idea at first, but keep at it. When they see that you are interested in what's happening in their world, they will begin to open up.
link for FOR THE FAMILY. There we have shared books, devotions, and other resources that we have found helpful!
As always, we want to hear from you. What do family devotions look like for you and your family? Do you have regular family devotions? Have you found an incredible resource that your family loves? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share your story. Perhaps your story will encourage another family! And that's what this blog is all about!
- the higham family
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.