In this “Be Rooted” series, we’ve already delved into the ideas of being rooted in our individual relationships with Jesus as well as being rooted in our marriages. This week let’s “branch out” (pun intended! 😉) to see how this concept of growing deep roots affects our families.
No doubt, family matters can be complicated these days. The family unit itself is under attack like never before. I believe this is so in part because of God’s intention for families from the very beginning, so of course Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy God’s good purposes (John 10:10).
So how can we overcome today’s tendency toward busy-ness? The pull away from spiritual matters and toward earthly pursuits? The constant push from culture to divide generations?
It’s been said that the way kids spell LOVE is T-I-M-E. Just as we must intentionally nurture our marriage relationship by devoting time to our spouses, so also we must work hard to direct our family time so that it bears fruit and points our hearts and minds to things that will last.
There is so much we could discuss on this topic! I’ll just put a few thoughts about TIME with our kids here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
TIME WITH GOD
Everything builds on our foundation of Jesus Christ! As we spend time with the Lord ourselves (and ideally as a couple), more and more of our lives will be consumed by our desire to worship him and live out his purposes. Our children need to see what this all-important relationship looks like in daily life. Do we act as if our worship of God and service to him is something to be checked off our calendars? Do we view attending church or saying prayers just something we need to do? Or do we truly love Jesus, abide in him, seek him earnestly? Our kids can tell whether our actions match our words! (Have you ever found the Holy Spirit speaking directly to you through your own offspring?!) Parents are given the deep responsibility of teaching our children about the Lord (which is a good incentive to make sure we are deeply rooted ourselves). We’ll delve more deeply into Deuteronomy 6 in the next post when we talk about homeschooling, but regardless of how your children are educated, if you are a Christian parent, ultimately YOU are the one commanded to keep God’s words in your hearts and impress them on your children.
Our family time with God will look different during different seasons of our lives. I’ve had to wrestle with that over the years. Our family devotions are not always what I’d want them to be–and yet, as chaotic as life can be with kids of various ages, it is still Ted’s and my responsibility to raise these precious children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And so we press on, using whatever tools and time we have available!
TIME TO TALK
I remember hearing once that parents should listen to their children when they talk about “small stuff” (such as their latest LEGO creation or what happened on the playground), because if we don’t listen to the “small things,” our kids won’t come to us with the “big things” as they get older. In a child’s mind, EVERYTHING is a “big thing!” While it can get tedious to listen to a 23-minute recount of the thrilling Minecraft world my son has been building, it’s important to him…and therefore worthy of at least some of my time and energy!
If you’ve parented teenagers, you probably know this already: their time to talk is usually when adults are dead exhausted! But I wouldn’t trade those late-night conversations for anything. And now that we have young adults who have left the nest, I will literally drop everything I’m doing when they call so I can give them my full attention. Our kids need us, even as they sprout their own wings and take off! It looks different in each stage, of course, but the common thread is making time to talk with our kids. This includes one-on-one time as well as family discussions.
TIME FOR FUN
In my early years of parenting, I wanted to be a “fun mom.” I had visions of all kinds of activities I’d do with my kids as they grew older. But the reality is, I’ve learned I’m not naturally a “fun” person! Efficient and organized, YES. Spontaneous and fun, NOT SO MUCH! While I love to laugh, I find that I can often be too serious, so I’ve had to be intentional about finding ways to incorporate more joy and fun into my life. Kids are SO great at this! Over the years I’ve learned to let go of a lot of things (like housecleaning, lol) in order to embrace the loud, messy chaos of living and interacting with these little people God has given us. I’m having a lot more fun in these later years of parenting because I’ve learned to not take life–or myself–so seriously.
Along with fun, I would encourage parents to make time to intentionally shape your family dynamics. What do you want your family to be characterized by? What are some little habits or rituals you can incorporate into your life together that can not only be fun, but also meaningful? “Fun” doesn’t always mean unimportant silliness!
Regardless of how you choose to spend time with your family, one thing is certain: you will look back one day and realize just how true it is that “the days are long, but the years are short.” Praise God for giving us this precious time with our children!
What are some ways your family enjoys spending time together? How do you make time for God as a family? Share your ideas and tips with us!
Would you like to dive more deeply into the idea of being rooted? Check out my free 7-day mini "Be Rooted" Bible study!