Last week I talked a bit about how our family has developed a vision. Something we are working towards, something that guides our decisions, something that will help us build a legacy for future generations. I encouraged you to start thinking of your vision for your family. What is your purpose as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or child? How will you impact your family and the generations you will never meet? What is your vision?
The first thing I would tell you in developing a vision is pray. Pray for God’s wisdom, His guidance and His grace and mercy to fill in the gaps where you fall short. Make it a habit to pray daily for your family, your children and their spouses (even if your kids are still in diapers…they will grow up someday), pray for your grandchildren and their grandchildren. Start to think and pray for beyond what happens this week or next, pray for your future generations.
For our family, the most important thing we want our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to do is know God and have a relationship with Him. We feel that their coming to know Christ is/should be our first priority. It’s part of the reason we have decided to home school them. We can’t save them, we can’t cajole them into loving God or wanting a relationship with Him. God has to draw them to Himself. It’s a work He does within their hearts…BUT…we can give them the foundation. We can be His tools to plant the seeds, water them, protect them and give them the spiritual food they need to grow. We can’t make our children “sprout” in faith, but we can make sure the soil is ready. It is our number one priority and responsibility as parents. If we succeed in every other area, but fail here it is all for naught.
The first part of our family vision statement reads, we have scriptural references for each point and I will include them as well. :
Every member become a believer saved by gracethrough faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which Godprepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
So if our priority is that our children and future generations is that they come to know God, what does that look like? It’s not enough to go to church every Sunday and send them to VBS every summer. That might be part of it, but it won’t give them fertile soil in which to grow.
We open every day at our house after breakfast by reading our Proverb of the day. There are 31 Proverbs, we read whatever number Proverb corresponds to the day on the calendar. Proverbs is a book of wisdom. We discuss the things we’re learning as we read, we talk about how to discern wise vs foolish, how to pick a wife, how to be obedient. We’ve been doing this for some time, and I assure you it never gets boring. We always learn something, no matter how many times we’ve read it. We have the attitude, and have often said…”if you don’t have time for devotions you don’t have time for much else”.
Something we’ve been doing that is relatively “new” to our day is we’re memorizing scripture together as a family. We usually do a whole chapter over the course of several weeks. We make up actions to go with the verses so they’re easier to remember. Zeke and Titus sit and recite or do the actions they can remember with us. We usually add a new verse every day. We’ll recite what we already know with the actions, we’ll learn the new verse and come up with actions for that verse and repeat it several times. Then we’ll recite the whole passage again ending with our new verse for the day. When you get towards the end of a chapter, it takes a bit to recited the whole thing twice, but it really helps cement it in your brain.
After our Proverb and memory passage, we study a character trait and it’s definition. We study the same trait everyday during that week reciting the definition and talking about what that character trait looks like. There are lots of lists of character traits out there, some are biblically based and some are not. I made a list for our family that we feel incorporates both behaviors and heart attitudes that we want our children to learn. You can view our list here.
Then we pray as a family. Each member takes turns and prays for whatever is on our heart. We pray for the children we sponsor from World Vision and Compassion International. We pray for our family, our brothers and sometimes our dog.
We end our day usually with Daddy reading from the Bible (we’re currently studying James). We also pray as a family at the close of the day. Some evenings we’ll sing…I can plink out the melody for most hymns and it’s fun to hear the boy’s voices raised in praise.
We’re not perfect and don’t have all the answers. This is what we’ve found works for our family and helps us develop the foundation we desire for our children.
But you know what I think…what happens between the bookend Bible reading to our day is just as important. Between our Bible times we strive to LIVE what we’re learning. We try to incorporate our character traits, our Bible passages and their principles into our everyday life. For example, in Matthew 18 it talks about how to appeal to a brother. When the boys are fighting and they come tattle to mom…rather than jumping right in to solve it…I ask them “how are we to appeal to a brother?” They reply “go to him first and talk to him”…”did you do that”…”no”…”why don’t you try that first and then we’ll see what happens”. 9 times out of 10 I don’t hear another peep about “Mom! So and so did this”. Instead I hear the boys talking about how they are going to solve their problem. We talk about forgiveness and practice it (at lot).
It’s not enough to just throw water and fertilizer on the soil, but we have to work it up, we have to get our hands dirty and feel it. It’s the same with our kids. It’s not enough to just “throw” God’s word at them and hope it sticks…we have to practice it. We have to live it out. It’s not enough to have a family vision…but we have to work for it.