I saw a post from an acquaintance recently showing the great lengths they are going to at home to ensure that their kids will be ready for school and for the next sport season once kids are allowed to return to school. They are definitely #winningatlife. And at parenting. Obviously. No one can fault that it would be wise for us as parents to – at a minimum – encourage our kids towards their sports and academic goals, regardless of how far removed that might feel from our current situation. Although the mom who posted this doesn’t know when and if lockdown will be lifted, she was creating conditions of readiness in her kids. She was looking into the future. But as I was (trying hopelessly) to busy myself with the same thing – you know, bar a million interruptions for snacks! – I couldn’t help but wonder, how far into the future? Are we looking far enough? We are all always as parents diligently trying to invest in our kids and their future, but are we investing the right things, and are we looking far enough into the future?

The Most Valuable Thing We Can Do With Our Kids During Lockdown...Yes, we can and should have the earthly wisdom to prepare our kids for the world, for thriving school careers and later, for thriving adulthood. But does that wisdom stand the test of time, no, eternity? Because I can do all the crafts, and install an astroturf in my garden, and do all the Kumon and all the coding-for-kids, but in light of eternity, would those investments have been wise…or foolish? Certainly, they would have been foolish if I neglected the most important things. Because what good would that do if my kids don’t know the difference between being forgiven and not being forgiven. If they, in our homes, never had the opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of who God is and what He says about them, how much He loves them and what He did because of that love, and how that changes literally everything?

I want to challenge all of us today that the most valuable thing we can do for our kids during lockdown is not online lessons and hockey drills, and trying to map out a 3km route around our garden for them to run. It’s the thing most of us are neglecting, because it takes time, because we might be slightly intimidated by the idea, and because it’s immediate value is not as apparent as the immediate value of every available privilege and opportunity we are trying to pour into the lives of our kids. But, in the end, it’s the only thing – in partnership with the work of the Holy Spirit –  that can produce a harvest in them that will stand the test of all of time. We can easily start that investment today, by simply reading the bible with our kids and, depending on their age, teaching them to read the bible for themselves. 

 

 

 

The Most Valuable Thing We Can Do With Our Kids During Lockdown...Because how can anyone be captivated by the love of God outside of the word of God? Nothing our kids see or hear in the world (truthfully nothing that they will even see and hear in and from us!) will give them a true enough picture to understand who God really is. And how will they hear if no one tells them? (Rom 10 v 14) 

There are just 3 simple and important things I think we need to remember when having devotions/ reading the Bible with our kids:

  • Make the Bible accessible – Help them find their way around an actual bible. Ideally, from age 4 or 5, they should have their own one. That way over time it can become a familiar reference to them, not something that is only used at church or by grown ups. God’s word is powerful and in a world full of tools and devotionals and programs  we’ve become somewhat disconnected from it. But empowering oud kids to fall in love with God’s word is one of the best gifts we could ever give them. Obviously our kids will not get excited about God’s word if we are not excited about it. Always start with the bible, and only ad resources to ad depth, not remove depth. 
  • Equip kids to study God’s word for themselves: . Just like we need to teach our kids to prepare a physical meal for themselves, we need to teach them how to prepare a spiritual meal for themselves. using simple tools, modelling for them the HOW of time with God. I use a simple method that my mom taught me and devotional time I spend with my kids is basically just me modelling for them how I spend time with God myself. 
  • Teach them to discern what God is saying and how to apply it: we have a saying in our home – Truth is God’s opinion about anything. But our kids are every day, in the books they read, the programs they watch and in the music they listen to, being exposed to alternative versions of truth and world views that are counter to the bible. Can our kids find a deep spiritual life in a shallow world? Not outside of the bible they can’t. Because what counts for us also counts for our kids: You can’t test what’s true if you don’t know what’s true. Without a grounding of truth, you become a slave to every new fad or teaching, and your measure of viability becomes if your teacher put it on the reading list (if you’re a kid) or if it – Lord help us – it made it onto the NYC best seller list or has a “Christian” publisher (if you’re an adult. And yes, I meant to put that in inverted commas!). That is why Jesus said to the Jews, by and large a well read bunch, in John 8 v 31 – 32 – READ YOUR BIBLE if you want to be free of being lead along by deception.
  • Equip kids to study God’s word for themselves: Just like we need to teach our kids to prepare a physical meal for themselves, we need to teach them how to prepare a spiritual meal for themselves. using simple tools, modelling for them the HOW of time with God. I use a simple method that my mom taught me and devotional time I spend with my kids is basically just me modelling for them how I spend time with God myself. 
  • Teach them to discern what God is saying and how to apply it: we have a saying in our home – Truth is God’s opinion about anything. But our kids are every day, in the books they read, the programs they watch and in the music they listen to, being exposed to alternative versions of truth and world views that are counter to the bible. Can our kids find a deep spiritual life in a shallow world? Not outside of the bible they can’t. Because what counts for us also counts for our kids: You can’t test what’s true if you don’t know what’s true. Without a grounding of truth you become a slave to every new fad or teaching, and your measure of viability becomes if your teacher put it on the reading list (if you’re a kid) or if it – Lord help us – it made it onto the NYC best seller list (if you’re an adult). That is why Jesus said to the jews, a well read bunch, in John 8 v 31 – 32 – READ YOUR BIBLE if you want to be free of being lead along by deception.

For this reason our devotional time needs to be supremely practical and relevant, helping our kids identify challenges in their own lives and how God’s word speaks into that. That way what they learn about God and about themselves will become fuel for their prayers, start to drive their actions and shape their thinking. If you want help in using relevant examples from your kids’ every day challenges to shape biblical thinking in your kids – also maybe get my book, which is all about that. 

Then lastly parents, don’t underestimate your kids, or yourselves

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Click To Tweet

Also, take the pressure off. Ultimately God is the one who makes seeds grow. Our call as parents is to faithfulness in actually sowing the seeds. That’s all.