PROVE – CORRECT – ENCOURAGE
Our Enemy doesn’t care one whit about our prayers before meals, or our family Bible-reading times, if these rituals do not connect our family to Jesus – His life and His presence with us and within us. Sad to say, even spiritual disciplines can be activity empty of meaning and impact for daily life and future living. We all know this; most of us feel helpless to make changes.
We find little comfort from assuring ourselves that we are doing the best we can. Our best, so often, seems paltry and pathetic when we realize how quickly time passes and with it the opportunity to be the parent-coaches we know we ought to be. Is there hope? Yes!
First, let me remind you that hope and wishful thinking are very different! I can watch the TV ads for miracle diets and physical work-outs, but if I don’t trade my wishful thinking in for the hard work of changing some life habits, there’s little hope I’ll become healthier. It takes hard work to make changes. My suggestions involve effort to effect change…some efforts are more difficult than others.
You might start off by creating a word study for yourself (and for sharing with your kids eventually) on hope. Most Bibles include a concordance and you’ll find a couple dozen references in Scripture. If you access the Bible online, it’s even easier to identify what God says about hope in His Word.
Next, invest in the books listed below; read them carefully (maybe over a year or so?) in order to work their good advice into your family’s life. Remember, these are not the only ones; they’re the ones God has brought to my attention, along with the five listed in a previous blog entry. Feel free to substitute others; just keep the topic focused on developing spiritual disciplines within family life.
Formational Children’s Ministry – Shaping Children Using Story, Ritual, and Relationship by Ivy Beckwith (Baker Books)
Directed primarily to church children’s workers, her material is easily adapted to benefit parents as well. Here you’ll find great ideas for incorporating God’s story and yours, rituals and relationships into your family’s life in such a way that Jesus becomes, not an occasional guest, but an honored resident shepherding you through the paths you walk with your kids along life’s challenging way
It Came from Within! The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart by Andy Stanley (Multomah Publishers)
This book is written for adults and deals with four ‘invaders’ of the heart: anger, guilt, greed and jealousy. The author offers antidotes for each and develops the way these ‘cures’ can be applied. Towards the end you’ll find twelve pages that are worth the price of the book. It’s Chapter 18 where the author applies his teaching to the parents’ role with the family. Here’s the concluding paragraph.
As parents, we have been given the responsibility to teach our kids to guard their hearts. If your child’s heart is important to you, ask your child about what’s going on in there. Teach your child to confess, forgive, give generously, and celebrate the successes of others. These are the habits that keep a heart free from painful clutter. These are the habits that will enable your child to develop a healthy adult relationship with you in the future. . . that change everything. Page 210