In today’s world, time is one of our most precious commodities. In our increasingly busy lives, we must make the best of the time that we have. So when is the best time to discuss our faith with our children? The only reasonable answer is anytime.
Doesn’t it seem that the most time you spend together as a family is when you’re in the car, on your way to the next thing you have to do? Try turning off the radio and asking your children what highs and lows they had during the day. Then take a moment to pray for the event that you’re headed to next.
Another significant block of time that you have with your children occurs when they are sick and have to stay home from school. While no one looks forward to his or her child being sick, it does provide time to have a healthy conversation. Sick time gives you a chance to watch videos or listen to music together. So why not choose videos that will naturally lead to talking about issues of faith and life?
There might not be a better time to talk about faith than at bedtime. Share the highs and lows from the day and then take time to pray for each other. With teenagers you can ask, “What’s on your schedule tomorrow that I can pray for? Do any of your friends need prayer for anything?”
Taking a moment to give God thanks and praise before eating establishes a ritual that remains with children into adulthood. (Think God is Great, the Doxology, etc.)
Traveling together over a long distance or just getting away on a long weekend trip can be a great time to reestablish faith-talk in your family. Tithe 10 percent of your vacation time to God. Do a family service project, take some quiet time to read the Bible together, or have a family devotion each day. On the final evening of your vacation, spend time in prayer and worship. This doesn’t have to be elaborate—simply listen to a few contemporary Christian songs and take some time to give thanks for the time you’ve spent together. Take turns sharing one thing that you were thankful for on the trip and one thing you look forward to when you get home.
One of the best things that you can do as a parent is to establish the ritual of one-on-one time with each of your children. It can be weekly or monthly, but it needs to be built in to your life rhythm. A failure to establish this time will leave you saying later in life, “I should have done that.” Spend a weekend alone with each of your children, or establish a monthly date night when you see a movie or have dinner together. The particular activity is far less important than your commitment to spend time together.
The reality is that you do have time to talk about faith with your children. You just need to take advantage of some of these slices of time. Yes, you’re busy, but keep in mind that time is what you make of it.