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Create a Rhythm

Disclaimer: All these thoughts originated from my study of Orange.   They are specifically taken from the Essence of Family teaching given by Reggie Joiner, and can be found in his book, “Think Orange.” This is a fantastic book, and if you work with churches to reach kids then this should be your Manifesto!

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Five Essential Parenting Skills

4. Create a Rhythm

Deuteronomy 6:7 Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

As parents we need to be more conscious, more deliberate, and more innovative with our children.   I can’t drag them to occasional church services, pop in the random Veggie Tales video, and expect them to grow up to be spiritual champions.   It doesn’t work that way.   We know that, but we struggle to live it out.   Here is where the Five Essential Skills can become easily applicable.   (The ReThink Group has created some great resources for driving home these 4 Family Times along with their curriculum resources.)

It doesn’t get any more practical than these Four Family Times, as laid out in Deuteronomy 6:7:

  1. “When you sit at home.”   This is meal time. What a novel idea, huh?   Families eating together and interacting on a daily basis.   This is the time that we as parents can take an opportunity to be a teacher to our kids.   My family has tried some sort of a nightly devotional time before, but I’ve found it hard to be consistent.   But making meal times a priority, I’ve found it to be a super easy way to answer questions about God’s Word, and to rehash things our kids have learned at church.
  2. “When you walk along the road.” This is drive time. I know that DVD players in the car have revolutionized the way we travel as families.   I know that I would hate making the 8 hour trek from Lubbock to Tulsa a couple of times a year without one.   However, my family has turned them off permanently when driving around town.   Why miss the unique time to have my child’s full attention?   This is my opportunity to be my kids friend, and just talk.   We talk about school, soccer, girls (or boys), the lack of trees outside, how the wind always blows, and sometimes we’ve debated whether Sponge Bob is cooler than Patrick Starfish.
  3. “When you lie down.”   This is bedtime. When we enter our kid’s bedrooms, we are really entering their world.   We’re entering sacred space, and as our kids get older and older this space will become more sacred.   This is the time to be my kid’s counselor, and listener.   Bedtime gives me a unique chance to listen, and to pray for the things on my kid’s heart.
  4. “When you get up.”   This is morning time. Ok, time for me to be really, really honest.   This is the hard one for me.   I’m that guy that needs about 45 minutes alone to gather my thoughts, and fight off my weariness before diving into conversations of any kind.   However, morning is the time that I have the best opportunity to coach my kids.   I’ve reserved morning drive time as my coaching time.   It’s when waiting in line to drop off my 1st grader at school that I tell him, “Ryan, you were born for this day.   You were made for this time.   God created and made you to do the things that you are going to do today.   Ryan, you are more than just a somebody.   You are a child of the living God!”

I will choose to Create a Rhythm so time together as a family will nurture our everyday faith.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.