This post is from my devotion March 26th about finding God's perspective and purpose as a parent. In it, I shared my story of becoming a gold-mining mom and promised to list here some practical ways to connect spiritually with our kids. This is another way I learned to experience and give God's love to my kids.
I used to think that if I just read my kids the Bible they'd sit still during family devotions and then wake up the next day wanting to be sweet little children who obey God's Word. Not so. Didn't happen. And I thought I was doing something wrong.
But what I discovered is that children don't want to just read about God's truths - they want to see us live them. They don't just want to be told a bunch of rules, they want following God to be an adventure. And it can be!
So, how can we make spiritual connections with our kids?
First we've got to invest in positive heart connections . Although children need discipline and correction, the main thing they need is love communicated through the power of encouragement and time spent together! Why? Because spiritual truths can't get down into the soil of a heart that's been hardened by criticism and constant correction.
Now I realize encouragement is hard to offer when it's not what you grew up with. But if that's the case, this is our chance to choose to be what we wished we’d had! Your grandchildren will thank you for it!
God challenged me ten years ago to start looking for ways to catch my kids doing the right things instead of always correcting what they did wrong. He also showed me some positive ways to teach my kids about His character. I realized pretty quickly that it would be more affective if I used the "we" approach instead of a "you" approach. So, instead of saying,"You need to learn to be patient," I'd say, "We need to learn to be more patient, let's practice together."
Wait without complaining.
· Ask for something and then wait without asking again.
· Be patient with yourself when you don’t know how to do something.
· Don’t interrupt. Wait for your turn to talk.
· Have each family member wait to buy something they really want. See if the desire goes away.Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2b
At meal times, bedtime, play time or while running errands, you can talk to your kids about what God says about patience and practical ways you showed patience that day. You can also incorporate the verse in prayers for your family and others:
"God, please help us to be patient and bear with one another in love. Give us Your patience when we get frustrated or want to complain because something isn't happening how or when we want it to."
Rewards and Blessings
When we see our kids being patient or demonstrating any golden action or attitude we can also set up a system of rewards so they learn that following God brings blessings. As I mentioned in my devotion, we created gold nuggets when our kids were younger so they could save and redeem them for special treats or family activities.
Now that they're a tween and teen we reward them with other blessings like staying up later, cooking their favorite meal, renting the movie of their choice, etc. Whatever you choose, this is a positive way to teach our kids that God rewards those who seek and follow Him!
Passing on Our Faith
Kids want to see us live our faith, not just talk about our faith. As you read Bible stories with your kids or on your own, be sure to look for examples of people who showed good or bad character. Challenge yourself to apply what you're reading. Then take time to tell your kids how you are living it out, and use it as an opportunity to remind them that God really can make a difference in our daily lives.
These become powerful and memorable moments when we teach our kids spiritual truths that God is teaching us. And that's just what God tells us to do in Deuteronomy 6:5-7. I used to think it was so hard to connect spiritually with my kids but now I see that it's not - it's just takes me getting intentional about doing life together while keeping God's perspective and purpose in mind!
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