Having kids can be fun, joyful, scary, and downright unpredictable at times. Parents have a huge responsibility to be good stewards of the kids God has entrusted them with. I really want to be a good dad. In order to do that I know I must carry on meaningful conversations with my kids. I saw a statistic once that most parents only spend 10-15 seconds of meaningful conversations with their kids daily. Yes, seconds! This statistic excludes any statements like, “pick up your room, stop doing that, etc.”
We don’t need a degree in parenting to talk to our kids. You especially don’t need a seminary degree to talk to them about the things of the Lord either. Parents must be themselves and share with their kids out of their relationship with the Lord and live life with, not separate from, their kids. Being real is what relationship is all about!
Sunday morning isn’t the only time you can talk to your kids about the Lord. Deuteronomy 6 tells us the four most influential times of everyday to talk to our kids about the Lord and life. “And these words that I command to you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Bedtime, morning time, travel time and house time. These are times that all of our minds are more idle and contemplative and are very crucial times to building relationships.
Conversations truly develop as you go about doing life with your kids. Every moment in life is a teaching moment and an opportunity to invest into your kid’s life. They need to see you spending time reading your Bible, serving someone, and being involved in your faith, but what about reading the Bible to them or taking them with you to serve? Those are great times to disciple and build relationships. There will be many opportunities to teach them a lesson about the Lord. How they see you respond to crazy traffic, hectic schedules, and even cooking dinner will impact them greatly. Your actions speak a lot about you and your faith in the Lord.
So what should you be saying to your kids? You must realize the importance of starting conversations with your kids. Why wait till they speak to you or ask you questions? I came up with 25 statements all parents, no matter the age of your kids, must keep on saying out loud to their kids.
Here’s a few: I love you. I forgive you. Will you forgive me? I’m sorry. You are valuable. Of course I’ll play with you. I’m proud of you. Jesus loves you. I’m never too busy. I love you enough to discipline you. Let’s go to church together. It’s OK, everyone messes up. Do what honors God. Can I pray with you? Respect others. Let’s go have some fun. Love others more than yourself. You are beautiful. No matter how much you mess up, I’ll always love you. I’ll never leave you. Serve others. Respect others, especially those in authority. How was your day?
Parents, you and I both need to go and say these statements, and more, to our kids.
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Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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