“As the man goes, so goes the marriage. As the marriage goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes the church. As the church goes, so goes the nation.” From Visionary Parenting by Dr. Rob Rienow
I’ve heard something similar to this before, but apparently this time it actually caught my hearts attention. Considering the state of our country these days, and the fact that my children are growing up way to fast, maybe I was in the right frame of mind to really let this phrase set into my mind. I’m reading this book because I know there is more we can do at home to raise our children better and it comes highly recommended. I’m only a few chapters in, but most times for me those are the best pages as the foundation for the whole book is set. I’d like to share a little of the book with you in my own words reflecting the foundations of biblical parenting that the author pulls directly from scripture.
Four God Filled Moments (Among many others of course!)
The author points out a few verses from Deuteronomy 6 starting with 5-7
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children .” Emphasis mine.
He continues with the next verses;
“Talk about them (The inspired words of God) when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Emphasis is the authors for context.
I’m going to paraphrase the point of quoting these verses as Dr. Rienow went into quite a bit of detail. The point is the same. Do you want to be a better parent? You must impart the wisdom and knowledge on your children’s hearts at home…Not at Sunday School from some other well intentioned parent, not at the once yearly Vacation Bible School, nor any other Bible camp. Don’t get me wrong, those places are great, but they only add-to the foundational wisdom from scriptures that your child is getting at home. God can use any situation for His good, I’m not trying to limit God at all, I’m trying to point out the faulty thinking that many parents have fallen prey to. That other people can teach their child about Jesus and his life saving offer of salvation. It must start at home! So back to the “Four God Filled Moments.”
When you sit at home
What, you don’t sit at home? Are you always moving from one thing to another like I am? First it’s waking up and prepping for the day the tings that I didn’t get to last night, then kids up, breakfast served, getting dressed, and out the door to whatever activity or errands we have. Then home for naps or quiet (alone) time, get dinner started, battle with kids over eating dinner, (insert activity here) and then before we know it the day is over, and kids are in bed. When did you sit with them once, let along four times? I may have found time for some book reading before lunch, or before naptime, but I’m not sure where in my busy schedule of being a stay at home mom I allowed for imparting words of wisdom…I’ve allowed my schedule to cause me to sin. If I can’t allow God into my schedule I am directly disobeying Him. I’m not going to dive into how, or when, or what to put into “family worship time” as it’s usually called. Just know that you should have time as an entire family to spend time “sitting at home” in God’s word imparting words of wisdom on your children’s hearts. And yes, fathers should be leading this. There are plenty of wonderful books for men on family leadership. It starts in the home friends!
When You Walk Along the Road
Of course back in bible times the mode of transportation was walking; Or riding on an animal if you were wealthy to afford an animal. So a lot of time was spent walking together, and God said that this was a perfect time fore discussing eternal things together. Sometimes I feel like we spend half our day in the car! Make it a point to turn off the radio and spend some time being spiritually focused. Maybe it’s a short drive…Spend it in prayer for safety and reflection on the mornings events; good or bad. Dr. Rienow is a down to earth kind of author and admits to forgetting this occasionally. I’m going to quote what he said about this small tidbit of effective time.
“One morning my family was driving me to work. We were one minute away when I realized we had forgotten to have our “Car talk.” So I quickly said ‘kids, here is one of daddy’s favorite verses from the Bible; Philippians 2:5: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. What attitude did Jesus have? They replied; ‘A good one?’ I said ‘Yes, a good one, a joyful one of course too. He was patient. So as we go through our day, let’s remember that our attitudes should be the same as Jesus. I love you, have a good day’
Later that same day Dr. Rienow replays the afternoon pick up when his wife and he got into an argument on the way to someone’s house for dinner. Then from the back seat, their seven year old chided them crying out about remembering to have Jesus’ attitude. He says be careful, because as you invest in your child’s faith and character it may just rub off on you too! So as short or as long as your car ride, spend it discussing the life and work of Jesus. Even if it’s just a short discussion of a song’s meaning from a Christian radio station. (Can you tell this is me? My son is ALWAYS asking me what the singer is talking about. It opens up huge discussions with us.) I confess that this is one of the few times we talk about spiritual things, and I do absolutely love the talks!
When You Rise Up
In the morning there should be some small moments set aside for more teaching. There was one of those chain e-mails going around years ago that was a prayer giving God thanks for having not yelled, not been angry, not hit or kicked or punched (I’m totally paraphrasing here) basically not sinned. Then the author of that silly little prayer continued to say “as I get out of bed…” !! The punch line is of course that his day hadn’t even started, so of course he hadn’t any time to do any of these things. But in all seriousness, this story sets a good principal of when you rise up to give it to the Lord. I have a wall quote in our bedroom to remind me to always start my day with a smile. While it falls far short of how I really should start my morning, it helps me to remember why I smile every morning. I remember God’s blessings, and it makes me smile. This time is such a great potential for teaching children. Their minds are fresh, they are ready to face the day. Especially if everyone rolled off the wrong side of the bed; Redirecting them to Jesus will will help to put them on the right track for their day!
When you Lie Down
Have you ever noticed that some of your best conversations are with your children as you prepare for bed? I sure have. God tells us directly that this is “an excellent time for deepening our heart connection with our children.” Dr. Rienow I couldn’t agree more with this. Don’t’ rush it because it’s 15 minutes past bedtime or you have something waiting for you downstairs. Ask your children if there is anything they want to talk about. You never know what windows of opportunity God will open. Even spending this time next to your sons or daughters just praying out loud with them, giving thanks for the events of the day, etc will be rewarded. Let them participate even if they are two years old! It always warms my heart to see my two year old bow her head and peek up to see me with my eyes (open) closed praying and then hear her to say “amen” My almost 5 year old son’s sweet prayers are always encouraging and often leave me laughing on the inside. He gives thanks for the funniest things!
Four times (at least) during the day God commands us to impart His wisdom on our children’s hearts. This may seem overwhelming for some of you while some of you may already be heading this direction taking it one day at a time. Remember that there is nothing that God has not prepared for you to do that you can’t do with His help. Did that come out the way I intended? What I mean is that God gave us these precious young lives for a purpose. This is our mission field as parents. Remember the quote at the beginning of my post? As the man goes…so goes his family. Start with yourself; spend some time with God asking Him to guide you down this path. Have an eternal perspective and vision for your family that promises a legacy of love in Christ Jesus. Get with your spouse and make it a family mission.