Ah, the lazy days of summertime….whatever happened to those, anyway?
Today, summers can be even more busy than other seasons, with pool outings, sports, vacations, children who are out of school or college, and a variety of events like camps, mission trips, and Vacation Bible School.
How can we as parents continue to have our own daily quiet time with God in the busyness of summer? How can we build the faith of our family at the same time?
When tithing is mentioned in Scripture, it is related directly to money. When it comes to our hearts and minds, 10% just won’t do. God wants all of us…and when we are focused on God, we build a life of faith that can withstand any storm, in any season.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” This Scripture outlines how to build faith in our entire family during the busy summer months — and indeed, all year long.
On Your Hearts
Allow the kids to see you having your “quiet time,” or actively reading and studying the Bible. Write out Scripture verses and place them around the house. Talk with your spouse about the passages. Allow conversations to revolve around the Word of God as much as the conversations revolve around sports, or vacations, or schedules.
Impress them on your children
Have you ever noticed that kids most often like the same sports teams as their parents? Is it because the parents only talk about their favorite teams one day a week, or more often? What would happen if the conversations in our homes were of the latest answered prayers, or the incredible truth we found in the Bible that day? Do our children reflect what is shone in our homes?
Instead of going to the self-help section in the library or bookstore for an answer, impress the need upon the kids to search the Scriptures. Did a child (or a parent) let out a “bad word”? Instead of saying the standard “because I said so!” as a disciplinary technique, what does the book of James say about cursing?
Talk about faith
The Deuteronomy passage says, “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” For most of us, we are in our vehicles going here-and-there a lot in the summer. Use this time while you have a captive audience to play CDs of faith-based children’s stories, Christian songs, and sermons from biblical-based preachers. Pause the CDs to ask, “What do you think that verse in the song meant?” or “What do you think the preacher meant when he said that?” Ask questions to get all the minds in the car thinking — including your own.
With my family, each time we’re in the car and see an ambulance, police car or firetruck with sirens and lights flashing, we stop what we’re doing or listening to and pray — for the safety of the first responders, for the health and safety of the people they’re going to help, and for all the families involved. Praying out loud at this time shows the kids that you are serious about prayer and living out your faith…even for total strangers who have no idea you prayed for them.
If you have a DVD player and going on a long trip (or, bless, just going to the grocery!) instead of putting in the same DVD for the millionth time, put in a Christian DVD for kids. Don’t forget to ask questions about it and talk with them about it. Don’t let it just be entertainment; use it as a tool to build faith in your kids and yourself.
Be sure to not only pray over your kids (of all ages), but with them. Ask teens, “How can I pray for you today?” That one question could open a whole level of conversation you would not otherwise have experienced.
The summer months are hectic and crazy, and it would be easy to put off the things of faith for convenience…but we are called to train up our children in the way they should go, so that when they are older, they will not depart from it. We are building disciples, followers of Jesus — and there is no time like the present to do that, no matter how busy we are.
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