The summer is flying by and school will be starting in the next few weeks for most of our children. We will be shopping for supplies, new clothes, etc., to make sure our children are off to a great start for the next year of their education.
As I began to think about the hustle and bustle of all that activity, I began to wonder how many of us treat the beginning of a new school year like the beginning of a new calendar year. You know, when January 1st rolls around many of us use that time as an opportunity to reset our lives… a time to begin something we’ve been meaning to do or set goals that we hope and pray will change our lives.
God’s grace is new every morning. The beginning of a new school year is a great time for us to begin new habits that will not only affect the physical and intellectual well-being of our children. But, why not use the beginning of this school year as an opportunity to begin and/or strengthen the spiritual lives of our families? Creating new habits for the spiritual development of our children doesn’t have to be difficult; just start with one of the four times of day suggested in Deuteronomy 6.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
So, how can you use these times of day to spur on your children in their spiritual development and love for Jesus? Consider:
- At the start of the day. Listen to praise and worship music. If you children are anything like mine, mornings are hard and having a good attitude to start the day is difficult. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Thinking and praising God through song can life our spirits and change our attitudes.
- As we walk (or drive) along the way. Consider memorizing a Scripture passage on your way to/from school or extracirricular activities. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Memorizing Scriptures together is a great way to spend time meditating on God’s Word. Start out with one verse per week and challenge your family to increase that to 2-3 verses every week by the end of the school year.
- At meal times. Our children need to have a set time each day to connect with their families. Meal time is a great opportunity to spend time in God’s word together. There are no rules to how much of God’s word you should read each day. Maybe it’s only a few verses, but maybe it’s a whole chapter or more. A great book to start reading is Proverbs. If you want to read 1 chapter a day, there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. If you have boys in your family who like adventure stories, the books of Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and even Jonah are full of adventures. When you finish reading ask a couple of questions about the passage, and let your children ask questions they have. Don’t be afraid to tell them if you don’t know the answer to their question. This provides an opportunity to work together to find out the answer from a trusted resource like your pastor or children’s minister.
- When you lie down. Bedtime seems to always be the time when children want to talk the most. You may be ready to turn off the light and go on your way, but consider using bedtime as an opportunity to increase your child’s understanding of the importance of prayer. Too many times my husband and I have heard that the only time a family prays is right before a meal. Bedtime conversation can open up prayer opportunities to pray out loud for your child’s concerns and teach them how to lift up those concerns to the Father on their own. If you’ve never taught your child to pray, this article will help you get started.
As you start this new school year, count it as another blessing of God’s mercies raining down on you and your children. Begin anew with a fresh commitment to spend time with the Lord together.
How will you use this new school year to begin again strengthening your child’s faith?
photo: freeimages.com/Gabriela Gonzalez