Have you ever asked your child what they learned in Sunday School after church? When I ask, I usually get the typical, “I don’t remember” or, “We talked about that one guy, you know!”. That is where the conversation usually ends. However, what If there was a way to know and keep that conversation going and practice throughout the week with the skills that were introduced?
Did you know that parents have 3000 hours in an average year to connect with their child? That may or may not seem like a lot, depending on the phase your child is in. However, the church has 40-50 hours in an average year to connect with your child. The hours the church has could be more if your church offers more children’s programs, however the hours of influence will still tip heavily towards parents and family.
If we want our children to have an authentic faith, we need to have a plan in mind for how we can integrate faith in our everyday lives. Although, if you are anything like me, I am not easily convinced to add another thing to our family’s schedule. My husband and I both work full time and have meetings and ministry events that we are involved in. Our children who are 8, 5 and 13 months also have extra curriculars (well, maybe not our 13-month-old, but he’s pretty busy. If you know, you know).
Here is something our family finds helpful, and it is also something I encourage our parents at Deer Run Church to do. Find times that you are already together and leverage that time to practice faith. Here are some examples:
Drive Time: On the way to school ask them about the creation they see and thank God for it! Or listen to worship music and sing along together. Or even ask questions like, “Who will you show God’s love to today?”
Meal Time: This time can be crazy, I know this first hand. However, use it to debrief the day and pray for the concerns of the day or praise God for the awesome things that happened.
Bath Time: This one is for our babies and preschoolers. Talk about how God made us so very unique and special. “God made our toes! Let’s count them! 1, 2, 3…” or add certain toys that can relate to a Bible story.
Bed Time: We can pray over our babies, say sentence prayers with our toddlers. We can ask our elementary kiddos who we can pray for. For our middle school and high schoolers, this can be a time when they open the most to talk about things that are on their hearts, and you can pray for each other.
You can find more age-appropriate examples by downloading the ParentCue app. This tool has given me plenty ideas for fun and faith-filled connection time with my children.
Being intentional in these everyday moments reminds me of what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
God was giving the Israelites practical advice through the author Moses, on how to live and pass on an authentic everyday faith.
What is one thing you can do this week? Maybe it’s connecting with your child’s Sunday School leader to see what the Bible story was or not being too eager to toss your child’s Sunday School craft in the recycling before seeing what it is about (I’m preaching to myself here!). Or maybe it's taking one of those times mentioned above and being intentional to bring God into the conversation! Whatever the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do, go with boldness! Your faith and your child’s faith will be impacted by this.