Spiritual Disciplines for Real Families
Spiritual disciplines are hard to practically teach kids. I, particularly, am Madame Non in my house—I’m driving/correcting the schooling, the chores, the attitudes, the dirty underwear cast precisely 14 inches from the hamper.
I also don’t need more stuff to do. The good news: The goal isn’t to do all of these; or even to “do.” It’s about setting ourselves up to receive God’s grace–like a football player positioning himself for the catch. Pick one of these ideas, and knead it into life (I think of it like adding flour to dough, a little at a time). I believe in what Richard Foster writes:
A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit… By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done.
I hope to hand my kids the tools to cultivate God in their lives; to sow, waiting for Him.
If that’s true, then the heart’s more important even than the discipline itself. In teaching this stuff, I’m super-sensitive to how they’re responding so I—and eventually God—can have their hearts…and not just associate spiritual stuff with boredom, exasperation, and straight-laced have-to’s. I listen to the Holy Spirit a lot to know whether I should push through in what we’re doing, or leave it to a better time.
It’s similar to my philosophy in education: If kids can “catch the bug” for a subject when they’re young—having fun and being engaged—they’ll be self-driven to learn and experience that topic for the rest of their lives.
We don’t just have fun spiritual stuff for our kids to compete with Nickelodeon. We want them to pursue God out of the pleasure they’ve already experienced and enjoyed with Him.
So I’m geared up for this series on Spiritual Disciplines for Real Families. (And I’d love your ideas, too! Please feel free to post them in the comment section.) Check them each out here: