He told them many things and gave them God’s word- John 17: 13,14
Jesus spent time investing in the lives of a handful of people with the final goal of ensuring they will have the ability and knowledge to carry on his message to the rest of the world. He spoke with them about the laws of the land, customs of the day, incorrect teachings from religious leadership, God’s plans for the world, and other fabulous things. He shared personal prayer requests with them and found ways to connect their day-to-day lives with furthering the message he came to bring. Jesus took seriously the time he had with his disciples and spent it as best he could. If we use the same lens to look at parenting the way Jesus looked at discipling, then raising kids similarly to the way everyone else on the block raises their kids just won’t cut it. Our calendars and weekly schedules won’t look the same as everyone else’s. Our values and rules will take a shift from the average. Our household budget won’t match others. Even our vacations might look different. It’s ok to be different.
As a family, “seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added”(Matt 6:33). Start with scripture memory and pray blessings over your children. If you are starting this after your kids are a bit older and it feels awkward, that’s ok- it probably feels weird to your kids too. Just keep going and it might just become the greatest habit your family developed. Some parents may not have a single verse memorized, that’s ok too. What a truly beautiful and worshipful moment it is for all to understand and commit to memory a portion of God’s word. Work on it together. Make it a family competition to commit to memory a verse each week. “But the seed on the good earth- these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.” Luke 8:15
I don’t want to assume that Jesus only spoke things to the disciples pertaining to theological concepts, so I think it is safe to say that some of the “many things” Jesus shared with them had to do with other areas of life. In order that our children be well round and able to live, move, and function in our society, we should also be teaching them skills and preparing them for as many aspects of life as we can. Just as the old adage says, being “all heavenly minded, but no earthly good” is not helpful to God or anyone nearby. Giving our daughters the opportunity to be “good” at something (education, music, athletics, art, cooking, etc.) doesn’t ensure they will be better Christians, but it provides them outlets to develop friendships, avenues to provide an income and points of reference to engage others with the world God created and gave to us to enjoy. Since we are to “seek first the kingdom”, let’s seek second the family fun, interests, and skills as we grow closer together.
What has been your family’s structure of spiritual formation up to this point? If you are honest, have you left the church to take care of a task that you, as the parent, are supposed to do? What can be added, changed, or started in order to further your family’s spiritual formation as individuals and as a family unit?