We are not the perfect family nor the perfect parents by any means. I’m a recovering control freak. I’ve even lost my temper a few times (okay, more than a few times). I won’t mention what my wife is not perfect at… because that’s not my job! My kids tend to get hyper (because of their Dad sometimes) and not listen very well.
However, we think we do a few things right. I think we do a pretty good job (although there is always room for improvement) leading our children spiritually. We take this responsibility very seriously, as all parents should.
Here are some of our family’s spiritual practices that we engage in together:
- Read the Bible // I know the girls hear and interact with Bible stories at church on Sundays (they better or I’m not doing my job there!), but we feel that if Sunday mornings were their only stream of Biblical instruction then they would be spiritually anemic. Therefore, we read and act out and have fun with Bible stories at home. We have a couple of Bible story books we use that we bounce back and forth from. I don’t think it’s bad to bounce around the stories (meaning, you don’t have to go in order). We’ve found that at this age (3 and 5) that it’s okay to follow their interests, even if you’ve done the same story over and over again. There’s been a natural progression to reading a story a lot, and then going in order for a while. All to say, reading the Bible as a family is incredibly important.
- Serve together // While we don’t serve together in a formal way as a family, the girls help me with lots of different tasks around the church as well as at home with stuff. “Serving” doesn’t have to just be for spiritual reasons. Serving together could mean doing chores together and helping someone out. What draws the spiritual ramification is that the action is directed outwards and not inwards. Our family is serving together for the benefit of others and not always just ourselves.
- Go to church // This is an important discipline in the Mavis family. The root of this required practice goes back to when Jeremy didn’t go to church for a while in his early twenties and his life started to look like someone who didn’t go to church! Jeremy knows what it is like to not engage in this important practice and he wants to teach his family that this is something we do because it prevents many things. Besides, our children (at the moment) absolutely LOVE going to what they call “God’s House.”
- Pray // After we read the Bible we pray together as a family. Sometimes, if we weren’t able to read the Bible together, we pray with our girls individually.
- Teachable moments // Nothing speaks volumes than a miracle moment to impart truth and wisdom to your kids. When these moments present themselves, PLEASE take the time to stop what you are doing (pull the car over, pause dinner, or turn off the TV) and teach these important life principles. These moments are fleeting, so engage them as often as they present themselves.
- Good night “verse” // The girls will not let us leave the room until we have said the “verse.” I don’t know why they call it the “verse” because we didn’t call it that… Anyway, we ask them two questions: 1) Who loves you? To which they answer: “God, Mom and Dad” (and anyone else in the family they want to add); and 2) Why did God make you? To which they answer: “To love God and other people; relationship and friendship; and holiness” (we started with just love God and others, but have since added “relationship, friendship, and holiness”). It’s been amazing even in the last couple of weeks, how the girls are connecting things they do in life to these reasons that God has made them.
- Discipline // God disciplines those he loves, and so do our parents. We take discipline seriously in its intent to disciple, not merely to punish for a pet peeve or personal grievance. This is an important practice that leads to our kids looking more like Jesus and choosing the way of obedience and wisdom instead of the way of disobedience and folly.