April 14, 2010

Family Devotions

So we hear that we are supposed to do it. We know it's supposed to be a good idea. But the reality is, very few do. Trying to gather the family around the table for any amount of time is nearly impossible to do these days. But I decided several years back that that is exactly what we are going to do, every day (well, Monday - Friday anyway).

It is required in our home that everyone be at the table, ready for school, with breakfast in hand, ready to walk out the door, at 7:20am - for family devotions. Does everyone like my rule? NO! In fact, more often than not, I seem to get complaints. "It's too early!" "I could have slept another 15 minutes!" To which I respond "Wah..."

I know - I'm mean. But I have a higher motivation. Here's what I've noticed: everybody seems to enjoy the time. We laugh together, we pray together, and then we laugh together. It hit me, my kids are going to look back on these moments and remember that our family was intentional about spending focused time together. These are memories that will be instilled into who my kids grow up to be later in life.

It's not hard to do - it just takes a strong conviction, a desire to see our family bond. I choose a devotional book, or a book of the Bible. I spend about 10 minutes reading to the family. Sometimes we discuss it, sometimes not. Then we spend about 10 minutes sharing with each other what our plans are for the day - what tests, or other challenges we are going to be facing. Then we pray. That's it. Oh, and we laugh a lot in between all of that.

I love my family. I am blessed by God to have such an amazing wife and such great kids. My prayer for you is that if you haven't already, that you would start a family devotion time with your family. What are you waiting for?

1 comment:

C. Michael Pilato said...

Our family adopted a weekly devotion time this year, which seemed like the appropriate timing for our kids' ages. We do our devotions on Sunday nights using The One Year Book of Family Devotions. (Using a year-long book works great because we can do the devotion for the assigned date, and next year's Sundays will all fall on different dates, as will the next year's, etc.)

Because the material in the book is kinda aimed at families with children a little older than ours, we supplement the time with activities/games that we make up to reinforce the lesson, and I "translate" the text on-the-fly when I think my kids require simpler words or concepts to fully understand the theme. As the weather has permitted, we've even held our devotions outside or at the park — whatever will help our kids engage the lessons.

I've found this time to be one of my favorite times of the week. Do my kids grumble sometimes about it? Sure. Do they always "get" the lesson? Nope. But they always go away knowing that they've spent quality time together as a family. And if the questions they ask are any indication, their minds are definitely absorbing and processing the material.

Do not defer to your church or its ministry staff (including youth and children's ministers!) the responsibility for your child's spiritual knowledge and well-being. Embrace the challenge as a parent to "train up a child" in all facets of his or her life. A family devotion could be a key part of that process for you.