So many times when I find myself getting frustrated with my kids I realize that I’ve grown lazy in being intentional with them.
Just because I send my kids to church several times a week doesn’t mean that I’ve been left off the hook in their spiritual development. It’s so important for me, as a Mom, to nurture my kids in their relationship with Christ.
Did you know that Susanna Wesley, as she raised her children, would often sit down at her kitchen table, flip her apron over her head and pray? Her kids knew that they weren’t allowed to bug her when they saw her apron-covered head.
Here’s a quote I love from a letter she wrote to her husband:
“I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. I am not a man nor a minister, yet as a mother and a mistress I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles.” (source)
That’s the kind of Mom I want to be . . . a Mom that acknowledges the massive undertaking it is to raise kids in a broken, suffering world and actively seeks Christ to get through each day. Intentionally. (Although I’m not sure I aspire to have a different child to “discourse” with each day of the week! ha!)
Here are a few things I’ve been doing to help them along.
Peter and I want the kids to know the importance of praying daily for others. So we sat down and wrote people’s names out on strips of paper. Each morning we pull a name out and pray for that person/family during each meal time. It doesn’t take long, but it’s made a big impact on our days. Sometimes I take the extra step to write to the family to let them know that they were our “family of the day” and that we’ve been praying for them (but, honestly, this step doesn’t happen often).
Most of the people are friends and family, but we also had a few in there that the kids thought were funny. Like the Manning family. You know, as in Eli and Peyton. Or the Obamas. But when we wrote out names, I wanted them to realize that you don’t have to personally know someone to pray for them. And being famous doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t need prayer.
After ending our Jesse Tree (in February . . . our advent season went a little long this year. ha!), we missed having something to do together. So I hunted around a little and put together Quiet Time Journals for the kids. (Here and here are the resources I used) We pull these out a few times a week (sometimes more, sometimes less– I really want to cultivate a love for the Word of God and not put emphasis on how often they are doing their Quiet Time. The importance of regularity will come later).
William is studying the book of Luke. Each time he reads a few verses and then answers a few questions I’ve written for him. Somedays I’ll have him write out a particular verse that I want him to remember. For his prayer time, I always have him come up with something he’s thankful for, something to ask forgiveness for, and something to ask for.
We read Kate a story from her Jesus Storybook Bible. Then she draws a picture of what she read. For her prayer time, she draws a picture of who or what she is praying for. Because she loves drawing so much, she’s so excited to fill in her journal each time (and it keeps me from having to tell her how to s-p-e-l-l each word).
I try to direct their prayer times a little. One day they’ll focus on neighbors or their siblings or friends. Sometimes I have them pray for missionaries or for people who don’t know Jesus. I try to remember that prayer is something they don’t just know how to do . . . they need to be taught how to do it.
Also, we’ve been listening to Scripture. This morning I stuck in a cd of Matthew. I loved walking through the living room and hearing snippets of verses. And we have Seeds Family Worship loaded on the ipod. Are you familiar with them? I have been amazed at the Scripture songs I have running through my head and the impact they have on my thoughts.
Now, in full disclosure, I am having a hard time publishing this post as I think about my “mom skills” this week. Let’s just say I’m glad I don’t get evaluations. I would probably lose my job. But underneath all my own selfishness and laziness and general impatience, I do truly desire that my kids would love God and His Word deeply.
P.S. Were you wondering about Eliza’s Quiet Time? Well, she uses that time to sneak the big kids’ cups of juice. She thinks she’s pretty hot stuff.