Do you make lists? I do love a good list and then checking the items off. My 8 year old loves to scratch out things on lists that she has to complete and my 5 year old will often put check marks next to her completed tasks. There is a since of satisfaction in knowing that you set out to do something and accomplished it.
What is on your list? A typical list for me would include errands, chores, meetings for work or with friends. Do you have anything on your list about spending time with your kids and helping to train them? If you are like me…the kids didn’t make it to the list unless it was running them here or there or making sure they finished their chores.
I was reading tonight chapter five in George Barna’s book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions . The book focuses on the importance of helping parents cultivate a biblical way of interpreting and responding to reality that is consistent with God’s way as described in the Bible. In chapter five “Taking On Appropriate Responsibility” with the subheading “Get your Priorities Straight” , Barna shares some of the lessons he has gleaned from parents in his research. Here is where I had to write “ouch” in the margin….read with me:
As a prolific list maker–yes, I am among the world’s greatest practitioners of the to-do list–I froze in my tracks one day while reading the transcripts of some of our interviews with parents, several of whom noted that their to-do list was chock full of tasks to complete before hitting the sack but that the list completely overlooked anything they hoped to accomplish with their kids that day. Already aware of the result, I slowly glanced at my list for that day and found that I was the epitome of the productive executive who claimed his kids were a top priority but whose carefully defined daily agenda made no mention of desired outcomes related to his children.
He goes on to talk about how we make a point to prioritize household chores, bill paying, meal preparation, etc knowing that if we leave them up to chance things most likely won’t turn out the way we desire. He encourages the reader to apply the same logic to our parenting efforts.
If you believe that your children’s spiritual nurturing is a critical responsibility and that you must be intentional about such growth, shouldn’t one or a few specific actions that advance the spiritual development of your children be at the top of your to-do list? (pp 89-90)
Now, don’t get me wrong. Brad and I do spend time with our kids and we have family worship and also will discuss various Bible lessons and applications to real life…but what hits me from Barna’s words is where does this fall on my intentionality? Am I laying out a game plan and sticking to it? Do I have a goal in mind or am I just being haphazard?
Fortunately, the timing is great. Our Associate Pastor of Families, Meade Baker, at Faith Community Church in Brookhaven, PA has just started a class he is calling “Train up a Child”. Meade gave us all a booklet that helps us know where to begin in sharing with our kids the greatest operator’s manual ever—the Bible. God created us and He knows best what choices will hurt us and what will make our lives better. Think about that….an operator’s manual, can you own a piece of equipment and never read the manual? Yes. But would it be easier if you DID read the manual and know how to prevent common problems with the machine? Yes.
We have a great responsibility as parents. I don’t think God is very concerned with how clean I keep my house or how quickly I finish a project at work. I think he is much more concerned in how I raise my children.
So, go make a list….and check it twice—your kids are worth it!