It’s easy to get overwhelmed in parenting. The demands on our time and energy seem never ending. Christian parenting can begin to feel like an unnecessary added burden. As a Christian parent, you don’t just feel responsible for keeping your kids alive and making sure they are somewhat decent people, capable of eventually facing the adult world. You now feel this additional responsibility to do everything anyone suggests, so you can be relatively confident your kids go to Heaven for eternity!
No wonder many parents just shut down! Denial seems a lot easier than all of the extra work it appears to take to raise your kids to become strong, faithful, productive Christians. After all, you can barely get them to brush their teeth on most days.
It’s important to remember, Christian parenting bloggers, authors and speakers are giving you the best case scenarios. If they are honest, they will all tell you they didn’t do everything they suggest with their own kids. (Some great ideas come to you after your kids are grown!) We also weren’t as consistent as we would have liked to have been with our kids. We merely try to pass on what we have learned worked with our kids or other children we have observed.
What you will find though, is that Christian parents who have kids who grow up to be strong, faithful, productive Christians are usually more intentional than the average parent. Sometimes, that intentionality was more complex like the fun activities or tips we often share with you.
Most of the time though, the intentionality takes the form of recognizing teachable moments and taking advantage of them every day. Teachable moments are literally that. It is something that is already happening to you and your kids, so no extra expense is involved. In a teachable moment, you notice an example that points out God’s wisdom or other characteristics and share it with your kids.
Let’s say your kids come home talking about someone who got in trouble because the teacher didn’t believe his or her story. They tell you the teacher said she has caught that person in other lies, so she doesn’t believe this story (which happens to be true). After listening to the tale, it’s very easy to say, “Wow! I can understand why everyone is frustrated! I guess that’s one of the reasons why God says to always tell the truth – others often won’t believe you if you have told lies in the past.”
That’s it. A few extra seconds to share something God wants your kids to know and understand. Over time though, those moments add up to thousands upon thousands of lessons you have taught your child about God and living a Christian life.
If you weren’t raised in a home that took advantage of teachable moments, it may not come naturally to you at first. You will have to think more quickly in the moment (although it’s okay to bring it up later, too) and connect what is happening to something God wants your kids to know. It may mean you need to be reading your Bible more often or more carefully than you currently do, but that’s good for all of us to do anyway. You may feel like you sound awkward at first, but keep doing it. Over time, you will feel more natural as you take advantage of these teachable moments.
If you have done this for a few years, you may find your child saying “I know, I know” (usually in mock exasperation) as you share your teachable tidbit. That’s actually an amazing compliment to your parenting! Your kids have been hearing what you are trying to teach them. They have retained it enough to know they have heard this before. If you are lucky, when they need that knowledge from God, they will hear your voice in their head reminding them what God wants them to do. (That’s why short statements often work better than long lectures.)
So don’t despair if you can’t do that amazing activity you saw on a Christian parenting blog. Just keep taking advantage of those teachable moments every day. Some days you will be able to do a few of those Christian parenting activities. They will give your kids an even stronger spiritual foundation. In the meantime, keep teaching them every day as you go about life with them.