If you are like me, the last few weeks have been a blur. Too much rich food, too many late nights, too much running around in circles. Throw in too little exercise, too few vegetables (the kind without cheese and fried onions on them!) and too little sleep and we are all ready for the re-set that New Years resolutions bring.
If you are like most Christians, your list probably includes eating more healthy, exercising more, reading your Bible every day and improving your prayer life. You may have even decided that this is the year you will really focus on being more like Hannah and really dedicate your children to God. You plan to have a family devotional every day, go to every worship service and make an intentional effort to teach your child about God.
The problem with resolutions is that they usually require planning, self discipline, time and money. Most of us have at least some if not all of these things in short supply. If we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t need to make resolutions. Let’s face it, for me to exercise every day, I need to schedule a time in my busy day for it. That usually works really well for about four days. Then something like an icy rain prevents me from keeping my schedule and the resolution is shot before the first week is up.
Eating healthy means that as the meal planner, I now have to come up with new recipes that are healthy, easy to prepare and that everyone will eat. If you are the cook in your house, you know how much time and energy that is going to take! Family devotionals – just throw that in with exercising. Going to services more regularly – works well until the first child wakes up with the the flu that then progresses through all five of your children and your husband before thrilling you.
What if I could give you a resolution that didn’t require advance planning or scheduling? What if you could even be haphazard and still keep the resolution? What if just keeping this one resolution could help make you a more godly parent? What if I told you that keeping this one resolution would almost surely guarantee your child will get more intentional godly parenting than ever before?
Here it is: Every time you think of one of your children, drop everything and just do one thing to help dedicate that child to God.
Suppose you are in the shower. You think of your daughter. If she’s under five, you are thinking of her because she is either in the bathroom with you or knocking on the door. If she’s older, she may not even be in the house (Those of you with small children will just have to trust me when I tell you that you will eventually shower, yea even bathe, in peace again!)
The moment you think of her, stop soaping up and immediately do one thing that will help bring your child closer to God. If she’s in the room, maybe you can teach her a hymn or the books of the Bible song. If she’s not nearby, say a quick prayer that she will develop her own relationship with God.
Suppose you think of your son, mainly because he is in the car complaining about something his sister did to ruin his life. Here is where it can get fun and totally throw your kids for a loop (kids aren’t the only ones that get to have fun!). Immediately turn the car into the nearest Starbucks and treat him to a hot chocolate. While he’s drinking, ask him about what is going on in youth group at Church. What is he learning? What does he wish he were learning?
It’s after dinner and you think of all of your children. Sure it is because they are fighting over which tv show to watch, but you are still thinking of them. Scoop them up and have a fun family devotional. There are lots of good family devotional books you can keep on hand that use items you have around the house. Maybe your topic can even be love.
You are on the computer when you remember your child needs new soccer cleats. Stop what you are doing and search for and purchase that student Bible you have been meaning to buy her. The point is to do something for that child to help him, her or them get closer to God the minute you think of that child.
You are probably thinking this will never work. You couldn’t possibly be late to practice or miss an important meeting to stop right then and do something for your child. The reality is we do it all the time (sometimes for less important things) without even thinking about it. If the pot on the stove starts boiling over while you are typing a report, what do you do? What if you are in an important meeting and the school nurse calls saying your child has a high fever? If we are being totally honest, how many of us have rushed home early from PTA or Church to catch our favorite tv show?
The key to success is writing the resolution down (if you are forgetful) and putting it everywhere you might see it. Then just commit to following through. You may not do something for every child every day. Some days you might do a dozen things for one child or three things for all of them. The number isn’t important at first.
My guess is that once you establish the habit, it will become more natural. Soon you will be obeying the command to talk to your children about God as you go about your day to day life. By committing to do just one thing, you will gradually become an intentional parent who is daily dedicating her children to God. You will be doing all sorts of things to help them on their spiritual walk. So this year just commit to do one thing and let me know what happens.