It’s already here – the start of a new school year. It’s like the start of a hike up a new mountain. The day is filled with excitement to start, new equipment for the journey and awareness of potential challenges ahead. Wherever our paths as families take us in our school choices, whether it be public, private, homeschool or anything in between, there is something that we as families would benefit to have in order.

I want to zero in and go over a few practical ideas fordDevotions or time with Jesus. This is my first priority to make happen with my kiddos. Why?

I WANT HIS PRESENCE TO BE THEIR WAKING GO TO, THEIR LIFELONG HABIT THEIR AUTOPILOT AND THEIR ANCHOR IN A CHAOTIC WORLD.

As a parent I’m giving them a gift, the habit of going to Jesus. I want to talk about some ways that we as families can make that happen as school is running and we are trying to keep up.

This is not an exclusive list, but just some ideas to encourage us and help get this school year started off on the right foot. None of us want to make time with Jesus equivalent to doing time in the penitentiary. When it comes down to it, a smidge of daily discipline is required. So how as parents do we draw our kids into His goodness without feeling like a dictator?

  1. A good way to start is by having worship music playing in your house as the family is getting ready. It’s an easy step in inviting Jesus to be first in our day and can help get an internal dialogue going.
  2. I frequently hit up the kid’s clearance aisle at Mardel. If there’s a kid’s Bible or devotional there, I typically buy it. It’s been hit and miss, but I’ve found some that our family really loves by doing that. Sometimes we’ll let one of the kids pick one to do for that morning. Right now we are working our way through the, “I AM Devotional” 100 Devotions about the Names of God. We’ve all grown and it’s just long enough with a couple of questions for conversation starters at the end of each one. There also are several devotion options on the Right Now Media app. It’s free through Antioch, just register here. There’s a good five-minute one called Faith Blox that ends with a family discussion question and a prayer.
  3. What about those mornings when I’m rushing out the door, a devotional time simply didn’t happen and I’m TIRED? In leu of snapping at everyone who I had to tell four times to get in the car, I’ll put on a kid’s Bible podcast on my phone for everyone to listen to. Then I’ll maybe ask a question or two pertaining to the content and then pray with them before we get to the destination. My kids have enjoyed this.
  4. Some families I know do baskets. This is where everyone has their own basket with an iPod or something with worship music along with age appropriate quiet time material. This could include kid’s Bibles, coloring sheets or a devotional.

I’ve heard families with grown children share about their family devotions when the kids were small. They’ve all said that it wasn’t always easy nor was it always pretty but it was well worth the effort. Sometimes there’s a kid having a melt down or someone needing discipline or redirection. I think if we hold on to the mindset that it’s OK if it’s not perfect but we’re doing our best as a family to follow Jesus, then we’re less likely to be frustrated or quit altogether.

SOME DAYS IT’S NOT GOING TO BE INSTAGRAM WORTHY AND THAT’S OK.

If it’s not working, try it a different way. We’ve done devotions upon waking, during breakfast, after breakfast and in the car. Do what fits your family in this season and don’t make it too long. One thing I do know is that like a lot of things, the more I’m consistent with it, the easier it gets. We’ll never regret any effort that we put into drawing our kids into the joy of walking through this life with Jesus. and boy o boy, does it require effort!

By Marie Perez – NEST Coordinator