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Carving out family time can seem kind of silly since you live together and obviously get a lot of time together (some days it may even seem like you get too much!).
However, time is foundational to effective family discipleship. And not all time is created equal.
Family time is the core of family discipleship because without it, you can’t deepen your relationships.
And without relationship, you won’t have the access to their hearts and lives that allows you to not only be their mom but the woman who pours godly truth into their lives.
Your Time With Your Children Influences Their Eternity
That truth should make every single mom and dad stop in their tracks and evaluate the quality of the time they spend with their kids.
Don’t waste moments, mama.
It’s okay to goof off and laugh, to take some quiet time to restore your soul, to let your kids go play on an iPad, or whatever. No one is saying you need to be serious all the time.
But it is time to seriously consider how you spend time.
Did you know that enjoying your children can give you a foundation for family discipleship? Without out, your influence with them will be stunted.
And that delight in them? It comes by spending time with them.
The Danger Of Choosing Family Time…Last
Have you been so busy getting one child to soccer, another to play practice, and running to the market that you can’t remember the last time you settled down to just play a game?
We used to be a family who was happiest going busily from activity to activity, too. And it was a dangerous season for our family.
We began to crave the relationships with friends over quality time with those in our family, and that wasn’t okay.
We had been choosing family time last, when God wanted it to be much closer to the top of our lists…right under our relationship with Him.
Making Family Time A Priority
So how do you change?
You realign your priorities. And then you start living them.
Take a good, hard look at how you’re spending your time and ask yourself if it’s an adequate reflection of what you say your priorities are. If it’s not, fix it.
We had to pull back from our busy lives, reassess, and literally begin to retrain our hearts and focus first on God, second on family — just like He ordained.
We started enjoying simple things, together. We started liking each other again.
Since that time, we have become a different family.
Family Time Can Be Hard Work
In the beginning, it felt a little like work; we weren’t used to staying home and playing with each other. We had to learn.
Can you relate?
I have good news! The more you do it, the more you’ll begin to look forward to it.
When you’re not used to being together a lot, it can be trying. You might find you are shorter with family members than you be with friends.
You might see your kids bickering more than they used to; that can happen when they have to learn to spend more time together.
It’s okay; growing pains are a part of growth…and that’s a good thing.
Family Time Ideas
Our favorite times when we have a tea party, or play games (have you played Qwirkle yet? Awesome fun!), or eat pancakes and play the thankful game while we eat, or snuggle under the covers to watch a favorite classic (Annie Get Your Gun and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers are huge favorites around here on a Saturday night!).
Do you need some suggestions on things to do?
I’ve compiled a list of 27 Awesome Activities you can do together and put them in the resource library so you can print them out. You can access them through the resource library.
Don’t forget how important it is to read the Bible together, too. Having fun and being silly paves the way for the more serious moments.
In fact, it’s what makes them possible.
But it can be so easy to focus so much on the fun (especially when you haven’t had it a lot) that you don’t want to settle down and have some more serious times. Both are blessings.
Family Time Should Follow The Biblical Model For Discipleship
When we do these things routinely, we are consistently doing what the early Church did.
They sat around the table, gave thanks to God, and spent time building relationships.
They had all things in common.
This is how we disciple our children.
We hold hands, we take time to listen, we see their hearts and share with them ours.
We spend time, our most precious resource, with them. We make sure to live our lives in common with our children.
And now we are seeing the fruit of that. And you will, too!
My teenager and I have had some of our best chats sitting on the hallway floor, him chatting while I’m sorting out seasonal clothes.
My daughter will sit down Indian style and just start pouring out her thoughts while I’m cooking or nursing the baby.
My heart gets so full when I see our younger sons run up and jump on Daddy and start talking to him while they horse around.
It is during these seemingly mundane times that we end up hearing their deepest thoughts, and they share them because they have learned to trust us and because we have worked hard to show them that we can.
We are called, as parents, to the glorious responsibility of discipling our children.
We are entrusted and charged with that task by God Himself and we do it with heavenly authority.
However, here on earth, we also need to earn the right to speak into our children’s lives by teaching them that we are trustworthy and by living a life they can look at.
We must first sit at the feet of the King, let others with more wisdom teach us and correct us, and live in a way that allows our children to see that we will hold their hands and hearts.
As we spend family time together, they will see that and it will open the door to precious moments of discipleship that impact their eternity.
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