Thursday, April 12, 2007

T is for Time

OK, we are still just on the 'T' in how to T.R.A.I.N your children in the Faith. Here are the rest of the ways to spend TIME with your family.

4. Meal Time - Taking a moment to give God thanks and praise before eating establishes a ritual time that remains with children into adulthood. At the Bible camp where I grew up, we had a variety of mealtime prayers.

5. Vacation Time - Traveling together over a long distance or just getting away on a long weekend trip can be a great time to reestablish faith-talk in your family. Tithe 10 percent of your vacation time to God. Do a family service project, take some quiet time to read the Bible together, or have a family devotion each day. Visit another church and discuss what you liked and disliked. On the final evening of your vacation, spend time in prayer and worship. This doesn't have to be elaborate - simply listen to a few contemporary Christian songs and take some time to give thanks for the time you've spent together. Take turns sharing one thing that you were thankful for on the trip and one thing you look forward to when you get home.

6. Memory-Making Time - As a youth and family Pastor, I had opportunities to lead many youth-service trips. These trips were often life changing times for the teens as they experienced being the hands and feet of Jesus. While I loved leading these service trips, I always shared these experiences together. If your family is having relations conflicts, think about doing a service project together. The shared experience of helping those less fortunate than yourselves will probably give all of you a new perspective on the problems that your family is facing.

7. One-on-One Time - I think just about every parent says the same thing about their kids: "They grow up so fast". Soon, you'll be wondering where the time went. We have a refrigerator magnet that reads "Don't should yourself", which means don't go through life saying, "I should have done that". One of the best things that you can do as a parent is to establish the ritual of one-on-one time with each of your children. It can be weekly or monthly but it needs to be built in to your life rhythm. A failure to establish this time will leave you saying later in life, "I should have done that". Spend a weekend alone with each of your children, or establish a monthly date night when you see a movie or have dinner together. The particular activity is far less important than your commitment to spend time together.

The reality is that you DO have time to talk about faith with your children. You just need to take advantage of some of these slices of time. Yes, you're busy! Why not take advantage of the brief snippets of time?!

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