20 March, 2014

One key to our parenting

Twice this week I've been asked what we use for devotions with our boys. To back up a little, I have to explain that after dinner most nights David and I do one-on-one Bible time with our boys for
about 10-15 minutes each, sometimes longer. (I'm missing his help with that this week, we take it in turns so that none of them get the same parent each night.)
Three different age-levels. YP's for 11-15 year olds,
Mettle for 14-18 year olds, and Topz for 7-11 year olds.

A couple of years back we struggled to find material that would challenge our kids who're at a Christian school and have been hearing Bible stories since they were born. This led me to a UK group who produce attractive, age-appropriate material. And they ship overseas. So, every two or three months the boys each get a cool magazine in the mail and we use it nightly.

We've had our eldest using these for about four years now, but in the last year or two we've introduced the younger two to them as well. (It's interesting to go back 3 ½ years to this post and see what we were doing then, it's interesting to note that our eldest's attitude to this activity has improved since then.)

Each day has a Bible passage and some notes to read. The one our 8 y.o. is doing also usually has a cartoon or some kind of puzzle or activity to complete. It's working well.

The bonus of this is that we get one-on-one time with each child each day. I've had some great conversations with each of them. Not every day, but every now and then. I think this is vital, especially for keeping a good relationship with teenagers. I like to use the time to help them process their day or to gauge how they're feeling about something. For example, our eldest and I have had many conversations during the sporting seasons about the competitions and how he did, how he was going to approach the next one, etc. Often times this is when I'm answering questions about sex too (you might be surprised at how much of that comes up when we read the Bible).

After we've done the Bible and notes and chatted, we each pray. This has been a long battle. I laid down a basic formula early on: "give thanks, say sorry, and ask for help". I just love praying individually for my boys in their hearing, love it! 

Sometimes I love their prayers too. Often they are pretty basic or formulaic, but occasionally there are some gems, times when you see straight into their hearts and see their faith. Other are ones that get repeated later when David and I are alone, like the time our eldest prayed to be more "offensive". He was referring to wrestling, meaning he needed to take the initiative rather than be defensive.

We used to sing to them too, but now, more often than not, they're playing Christian music in their rooms, so I let the professionals do it.

I hope that this doesn't sound all over-the-top spiritual. This is what works for our family (please note that we don't do an all-family devotional time). What works for you will probably be different. I just put this up because at least two people were interested, so I guessed that others might be too!

1 comment:

Hippomanic Jen said...

As someone who is studying OT (Old Testament, not Occupational Therapy!) at the moment, I'm not surprised sex comes up in devotional material. There's lots of room in Scripture for some really interesting conversations with teens.

I'm doing some training as a volunteer for a Christian organisation who have asked me to sign that I will live according to Biblical principles. I don't THINK they want me to sleep with my father (Lot's daughters), steal my brother's blessing (Jacob), commit adultery and then murder to cover it up (King David).