Creating Time for Christian Parenting

If you are a Christian parent, hopefully your top priority is for your kids to spend eternity in Heaven. For years and years, we pretended like we didn’t know why some kids grew up to be faithful, productive Christians while children from what seemed like similar homes rejected God/the Church as adults or were lukewarm Christians.

Thanks to groups like Barna, we now have lots of empirical data. There is research to back up the importance of much of what many Christian parenting experts have been recommending for years. There are definitely things parents can do that dramatically improve the chances that their children will grow up to be faithful, productive Christians. Now we know what many of those things are. (Granted most were already in scripture.)

When I share some of these things with parents of children and teens, inevitably at least one person is brave enough to admit that they won’t be doing many of those things because they are “too busy”. I imagine a lot more parents are thinking the same thing – they just aren’t brave enough to tell me to my face!

There is a secret about time that they are failing to consider. We all have the same twenty four hours in a day. The same seven days in a week. Why are some Christian parents able to find the time to do the things their kids need to develop a strong faith foundation, while others can’t seem to find the time to do even some of the very basics?

The truth is that time management is about choices. It’s considering your priorities and making the choices that allow your priorities to be addressed adequately. Let’s assume your priorities are in line with those God has for your family. Are you making choices that reflect those priorities or are your choices actually indicating something else is actually more important to you than your children spending eternity in Heaven?

In Bible times, women spent two hours a day grinding grain by hand. They spent an additional eight hours in food chores. That’s equivalent to a full time job that we can knock out with a ten minute run to the grocery store or picking up take out food. Who knows how many more hours they spent on other household chores like laundry, that required intense, focused labor (unlike pushing some buttons and doing whatever we want until the load is finished).

I can’t find anything in scripture to indicate that Mary and Joseph were too busy to teach Jesus and his siblings what God wanted them to know. Or attend worship and Bible study opportunities. Or mold their children’s character and attitudes.

It also seems like at least some of the mothers of the Apostles also followed Jesus. For all of their confusion in the early years of Jesus’ ministry, James, John and others had obviously been raised in homes that made serving God a priority – even when it wasn’t easy or convenient.

Have every member of your family keep a time log for a week or two. No cheating! If you play Candy Crush for an hour, you have to write it down. God doesn’t say we can’t work or have fun. What He does demand is that how we spend our time reflects our priorities – which should reflect His. We can’t say our top priority is our children spending eternity in Heaven and then spend less than an hour a week in actively teaching and coaching them to be who God wants them to be.

This is a tough post. It forces you to be brutally honest with yourself. God already knows the truth – whether you admit it or not. To align your priorities with God, you may have to make some really tough choices. We talk about our faith being strong in the face of persecution, but is it strong enough to withstand the assault from the things we enjoy doing more or believe we need to do because they are more important? Do the work so your kids will have the foundation they need to make choices that will lead to them spending eternity in Heaven.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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