We live in an instant-pot, microwave, Instagram society. Everything happens at breakneck speed. According to social media, if our calendars aren’t jam packed with activities, we are failing our kids. I mean, what kind of bad mom would let her kid be bored???
But is this best for our children? Will it reap the God-centered families that we desire?
Today begins a 3-part series looking at the good and bad characteristics – or rhythms – that youth pastor, Scott Jones, sees in families. We also asked him to dive into the hidden struggles teens face. Then we discussed how we can foster a godly family.
This podcast and blog series encouraged, convicted, and empowered us and we can’t wait to share it with you!
▼ Jump to Listen to Episode #18: Characteristics of a God-Centered Family, Part 1? ▼
Diving in headfirst, Heidi asked Scott the question, “What characteristics are you seeing in the strongest families?”
First, Scott commented that praying together is imperative for growing a God-centered family. Our perfect model for this is found in Jesus Christ. He values and demonstrates the importance of making time to pray throughout the day. Jesus prayed alone (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16, 9:18; Matthew 26:36, 39, 42, 44), and He prayed in front of and for others (Matthew 14:9; John 17:9). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught His disciples a specific way to pray (Matthew 11:1-4). In each of these ways, Jesus shows us that a faithful life is one marked by prayer. We don’t reserve praying for Sundays. We are to “pray continually” as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
When parents live a prayerful life, kids don’t know any other way. They grow up knowing that God cares about the tiniest details of our lives. He’s not a magician who can fix all of our problems. But God is a caring, loving heavenly Father who wants to hear from us.
Heidi and I recorded a podcast encouraging parents of younger children as they begin to teach them to pray. Now we both have teens under our roofs and the way we go about continuing to teach those teens about prayer is changing. Dinner time prayers, school-line prayers still happen, but now we also invite our teens into a deeper, more relational way of praying. The Old Testament book, Psalms, has many examples of these kinds of prayers.
Discover more…Praying the Scriptures Over Your Family
Daily Rhythms and Traditions
The second attribute Scott shared is that strong families take time to invest in daily rhythms together. This can be as simple as sharing a meal, celebrating seasonal changes, or observing your church’s liturgical seasons.
As noted above, the dinner table provides a perfect opportunity to pray together. It is also a great time to invest in deeper conversations. Take a minute to share what God’s been teaching you, or an answered prayer.
If you have tweens and teens, you’re no stranger to the awkward silence that happens at the dinner table. Sometimes they just don’t seem to have much to offer. Take that time then to model the importance of checking in with your spouse. You can establish a beautiful pattern of valuing and caring for your spouse by asking questions and being a good listener. The point is...the act of being at the table together is in and of itself worth your time. And it shows our kids that we value them enough to say no to other activities.
Take some time to think about the rhythms that your family values. Then ask everyone in your family to suggest ways to embrace those rhythms in fresh ways, or to pick them back up if you haven’t been participating in them. These don’t have to be expensive or extensive. Take a fall hike to wonder at the beauty of changing leaves. Make hot cocoa when the first cold snap hits. Sing Christmas hymns during the Christmas season. Fasting together during Lent. Your imagination is the only limit to the ideas!
Discover More…Tips to Have Successful Meals with Kids
The last attribute Scott brought to our attention was surprising. He offered that when kids can easily enter into conversations with adults, it signals that they are in a home where discussion is valued, regardless of a person’s age.
Maybe you’re thinking what’s the big deal about being able to talk with adults? Well, there are so many foundational aspects of the Christian life that can be learned from talking with one another. Things as simple as not hogging the conversation, being a good listener, being empathetic and compassionate, or encouraging. When this is modeled at home, kids then take those skills out into the world, asking good questions and genuinely caring about their brother or sister in Christ, peer or adult.
The caveat here is that there are all kinds of kids. Children who are shy or have developmental differences may struggle to engage in conversations with people outside their family. That’s ok. But knowing that eventually they have to leave our homes, we can continue to model this and show them that it’s a family value.
Reflecting back to the opening idea that God-centered families don’t just happen overnight, Heidi and I paused to consider the time that it takes to welcome kids into deeper conversations. Thus, parents need to be mindful of making space in a day to engage with their children in talking about the day, highs and lows, fears and successes. Maybe this happens in the car on the way to school, at the dinner table, or in the winding down hours of bedtime. However they happen, it’s apparent that kids who have time to engage in conversations with adults take that skill out in the world. As Christian parents we are seeking to raise and release Christian kids who can clearly and effectively communicate the gospel message. We would be wise then to invest time for discussion with our kids.
#18 Characteristics of a God-Centered Family, Part 1
Discover How to Build a God-Centered Family
Join Heidi and I in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday, September 9-10, 2022 for an 8.5-hour conference for parents and teachers. There will you discover Biblical Discipline, Creating a Positive Learning Environment, Using Teachable Moments, and discovering How to Teach.
You will walk away with practical tips and rhythms that will immediately make a difference and further your desire for a god-centered family and classroom!
This is perfect for Sunday school teachers, preschool teachers, mom and dads, MOPS leaders, grandparents, daycare leaders, and anyone who has a heart to impact children for the Lord.
Sign up now or click for more details.