In the previous posts in this series of “Keeping Your Child’s Heart” I’ve pointed out that the ultimate goal of gaining our child’s heart is to make disciples of Christ. In order to do that we must discipline and instruct them (Ephesians 6:4). We can do neither of these without spending both quality and quantity time with our children. This brings us to the question, “how do we find that time?”
One of the easiest ways to find and spend more time with our children is to make decisions that focus on that as a priority. Mark and I pray, talk over and write out a daily schedule. Our goal is for me to spend the majority of my time engaged with our children. By writing down how we are going to fit everything into our day, we are able to see where we are spending our time and evaluate whether we are investing our time into the things that we say are important.
Even if you don’t like schedules, writing down what you do over the course of a week and how much time that you spend doing it can be a useful tool to see how you spend your time and how that reflects your priorities. How important is “fill in the blank” (watching television, participating in sports, etc.) to you? Now how much time do you spend in a week doing that? Now compare that to the amount of time you spend communing with your God or directly engaging with your children. Do your daily decision reflect your priorities?
I think our human tendency is to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate. We tend to sacrifice building relationships and making disciples of our children in order to fix dinner, clean up the mess, minister to others or provide our children with some “wonderful” opportunity. Of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do these things, just that everything should remain in balance.
If I am so busy keeping the house clean, doing laundry, getting dinner on the table or running the children to different activities that I have very little time or energy to invest in my children then something is wrong with my priorities. This priority of building strong, solid relationships and making disciples of our children will affect nearly all of our decisions. Are we walking the walk, or just talking the talk? Evaluating how we spend our time can help us determine if our daily decisions are enabling us to meet our goals.
Another aspect of prioritizing our time is out-side-of-the-home activities. There is so much pressure, especially in the homeschool community, to have our children involved in multiple outside-the-home activities that there are many homeschooled children who spend more time with various peer groups than they do with their family and mothers who spend more time in the car than at home. (Don’t forget dad in all this. Fathers can become so busy with work and other responsibilities that they do not have a daily presence and influence in their child’s life.)
Saying “no” to good things in order to make room for the best things is vital when it comes to building relationships and gaining your child’s heart. We can not do it all!
A hard part of this is that often the BEST things aren’t flashy. Staying at home and making disciples of your children by pouring your life into them and encouraging them to choose the role of a servant and to serve others does not win awards, acclaim or scholarships. However, we must go back to our standard for life.
what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8b)
Christ came as a servant, why should I desire more for myself or for my children? No it’s not flashy, but it’s godly.
So evaluate how you use your time and the decisions that you make in light of the goals and priorities that you believe God has set for your family. He has given us enough time to accomplish the things to which He has called us. It is our responsibility to use that time properly.
4 Mom, 35 Kids talk about scheduling in only two more days.
You may be interested to read about some of the ways we try to implement our goal of teaching and training our children about the most important things in life. We try to make Bible reading a priority, we help our children memorize large amounts of scripture and doctrine, we have a daily time of family worship and we include our children in the corporate worship services at church.
Other posts in “Your Child’s Heart” series:
- Your Child’s Heart?
- How Can You Tell if You Have Your Child’s Heart?
- What’s Your Responsibility (Discipline)
- What’s Your Responsibility (Instruction)
- It Requires Time
- Our Insufficiency
- The Pearl’s and Your Child’s Heart
- How do You Find the Time? Part 1
- How do You Find the Time? Part 2
- How do You Find the Time? Part 3