If you are a parent, the title to this post probably sounds strange to you. It seems like almost all of your time is devoted to your children. You are either feeding them, bathing them, driving them somewhere, helping with homework or one of a hundred other things involved in caring for a child. Would it surprise you to learn even with all of that direct care, the average parent spends between twenty and forty minutes a day in meaningful conversation with their children?
In less than forty minutes a day the average parent is trying to imprint their children with everything they feel is important in life. Hopefully for many of you, this includes sharing important things about God and His plans for your children.
There is one important problem with only spending twenty to forty minutes a day having important conversations with your children that could have eternal consequences – it is not nearly enough time. Studies have shown to be proficient at something, a person needs to spend about 10,000 hours studying and practicing it. If you go over the national average and spend one entire hour a day in meaningful conversation with your children and if every minute is used to discuss godly things, you have only spent 6570 hours over eighteen years. That is only ⅔ of what is probably needed to feel fairly confident your child has a handle on who God is and what He wants for our lives.
Now do you want to clear your calendar a little? I am not suggesting 10,000 hours need to all be spent in serious Bible study and lectures/sermons from you. You do need to make a habit though of sprinkling most of your conversations with godly tidbits. They don’t all have to be direct Bible quotes, but a few wouldn’t hurt.
Throw in some examples of how you saw God working that day or how God answered your prayers. Share how God taught you something or how you served someone and shared your faith. Glory in God’s handiwork in nature. Look at the stars and see if you can count them any better than Abraham (warning – don’t try this in a major city because you may only see one or two stars!). As you play in the sand, see if you can count the grains that are just in your hand or pail.
If I could suggest one thing to parents that would make the biggest difference in the spiritual life of their children, it would be to tell them to clear things off of their calendar and spend time having important conversations with their children. If you don’t use up your 10,000 hours sharing your faith with your child, someone else will. Unfortunately, that someone else may not believe in God at all. So go grab your child, get some ice cream or coffee and have a nice long chat. You will be on your way to making a significant impact on your child’s spiritual life.