Tips for Helping Your Family Grow Spiritually If You Are Quarantined

Let’s be honest. None of us really wants to be quarantined for a long period of time whether it’s from this virus or something else. The good news is that a lot of healthy families are being quarantined at home. We don’t know how many of us or how long any one area will find everyone at home before the virus peaks and life resumes as normal.

If you find your family at home for any period of time, don’t waste that precious time. You may have few other opportunities to connect as a family in this way. There are a lot of ways you can take advantage of this time and use it to better prepare your kids to be who God wants them to be.

  • Reconnect emotionally. Have those long conversations. Find out what everyone is thinking and feeling about all sorts of topics. Get to really know and appreciate each other. And limit time on devices to no more than an hour or two a day outside of time required for school or work.
  • Have fun together. Play games. Watch silly old kid movies. Tell jokes and stories. Have tea parties. Build forts with blankets. Have a family sleep over. Just enjoy being together.
  • Start or entrench habits of spiritual disciplines. Family devotionals, independent Bible reading, prayer, meditating on scriptures…all of those habits that will make you and your kids stronger spiritually, but you never seem to have time to practice. Challenge and encourage each other to establish good spiritual habits that will keep all of you connected to God each day.
  • Serve others. Whether or not people can leave their homes seems to vary from place to place. FaceTime people who may be isolated at home alone. Help others as much as whatever restrictions you are under will allow. Model unselfish behavior by not hoarding supplies, but sharing.
  • Read good books aloud. Most adults don’t realize it, but even many teens still enjoy hearing a great book read aloud. C.S. Lewis stories appeal to all ages as do many other great books that allow you to have interesting family conversations. You should have access to e-books even if libraries close and many classics you can find online free or at very low cost.
  • Look for God working in the world today. Things like pandemics can make some people question whether or not God still loves us and cares about us. They may feel like God has disappeared. Point out the small blessings God sends your way each day. Celebrate God’s goodness as He gives people gifts to develop new medicines and vaccines to end the current health issues facing us. Remind your kids daily that God is alive and walking beside us even when scary things happen.

I doubt any of us will be volunteering to be quarantined for fun. Taking advantage of the opportunities it may present your family to grow closer and more godly if it is required of you though, may bring your family more benefits than just good health.

Creating Space for Your Kids to Grow

Maria Montessori was an Italian educator who believed giving children the freedom to explore their environment was the best way for them to learn. She developed classrooms full of interesting things that would engage children, encourage them to explore, experiment and ultimately learn.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything in her theories, she did have some important points. And though as far as we know, she didn’t apply them to a child’s spiritual growth and development, they do.

The ministry of Jesus and how he discipled the apostles is very interesting. We know now what their futures held, but they didn’t. Jesus did, however, and he spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring them. But look a little more closely.

There were times where he went off to pray and left them to themselves. At other times, he sent one or more of them on what could basically be described as an errand. Once he sent them off for a period of time to try teaching and healing on their own.

These opportunities gave the apostles time and room to process, think, pray, day dream, experiment and practice. The Bible doesn’t give us many details about what they did during these times. We know a few of their activities like fishing, sleeping, discussing, arguing and talking to those around them, but we can only imagine the other things they did during those times.

The apostles spent about three years with Jesus. Yet the teaching, mentoring and free space and time to grow helped them do just that. As far as we know, with the exception of Judas, they all became courageous ministers.

Who knows the plans God has for your kids? What Maria Montessori and Jesus knew though is that your kids need some free time. They need time to pray, read scripture and process everything they are learning about God. They need time to reflect on scripture and think about who God has created them to be. They need time to experiment with the gifts God may have given them and think about how they can be more like Jesus. They need to experiment in the ways they can best serve others and share their faith.

They won’t have the time to do these things if every moment is not just scheduled, but over scheduled. Or if their free time is spent interacting with screens. Fill your home with things they can explore, experiment with and ultimately learn. Give them enough free time without devices so they can work on becoming who God wants them to be.

This will probably mean making some tough decisions. Activities will have to be cut. Ignore societal pressure that demands every child be engaged in programmed activities every minute of every day. Yes, idle hands can be the devil’s workshop, but only if there is no godly adult presence and guidance. Give your kids the space and time to grow to be the person God created them to be. You may just be pleasantly surprised how they grow when they have the space and time to do it.

Your Child Has a Ministry

What? Your child isn’t old enough to work at McDonald’s. In fact he or she is convinced a career as super hero or astronaut is in their future. Yet, God has a ministry plan for your child…if he or she is ready for the challenge.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) God loves your kids. He wants them to choose to be His child and become a Christian when they are old enough to make that choice. He even has a ministry…good works…specially prepared for them to do.

Those good works are your child’s ministry. They may be big or small. In fact, some of those good deeds might be presented to them while they are still young and living at home.

Our world has us so focused on helping our kids find occupations and jobs, that we forget it is more important for them to find their ministry. Yes, they need to have food on the table and hopefully a roof over their head, but where they will truly grow and become fully who God created them to be is in their personal ministry.

Start now by helping them build strong faith foundations and develop and use their gifts from God. Talk about ways to find those good works God wants them to do. Encourage them to be as content in taking soup to a lonely neighbor as they are in going on a mission trip to Africa. Teach them how to find ways to share their faith and encourage other Christians as they do those good works.

God doesn’t give any of us a list of the good works He has prepared for us so we can check them off as we go. If I had to guess, it’s because that list is possibly based on our reaction to each opportunity as it is presented to us…or in this case your kids. What God has done is told us to be on the look out for those opportunities He gives us to do those good works.

Your child may never be a “professional” minister. His or her good works will most likely take place more in the world than in the church building. Some of them will be based on the gifts God has given your child. This isn’t a competition. It’s about being fully the person God has created your child to be – His child, doing those good works He has prepared for him or her. It’s worth the time and effort to help your child learn how to live that Christian life.

Helping Your Kids Use Their Gifts

You think you have helped your kids figure out at least a gift or two God has given them to serve Him. Now what? Maybe your kids are still rather young and you aren’t quite sure how to help them develop their gifts. Or maybe money is tight and you can’t afford the supplies and lessons they will need.

Or perhaps they have been developing their gifts for awhile, but your congregation is reluctant to allow young people to serve. Or your child has a gift out of the norm and no one is quite sure how they can serve God with it. Whatever the issue may be, it’s important to remember that Satan doesn’t want your kids to use their gifts to serve God. He’s going to throw roadblocks in their way to distract and deter them.

There are some basic tips that can help you get your kids around the most common roadblocks to developing and using their talents to serve God.

  • Find people with similar gifts in your congregation. This may take some detective work on your part. People with unusual gifts are often especially well hidden. They have usually found ways to quietly use their gifts to serve God outside of the church environment. Ask around though and you will probably find someone with a similar gift.
  • Ask them to help. People who use their gifts from God to serve Him are usually passionate about it. They love sharing their passion with a new generation. They may have extra supplies or be able to give your kids some tips. Often they will let a young person help them serve God with their gift. Don’t burden them, but take advantage of anything they are willing to do. (If someone seems totally uninterested in helping, it may be they are actually serving in an area where they are not actually gifted or they are carrying a heavy burden of some sort. Don’t take it personally.)
  • Watch social media, newspapers, retail fliers and clubs for kids. At times, you can find free or low cost classes and materials. Yard sales are another place you can find supplies. If your child needs craft supplies, many craft stores have clearance aisles and coupons with huge discounts.
  • Be creative. You may need to have other Christians brainstorm with you. Don’t worry if the initial ideas seem silly. Keep throwing out ideas and you may just find a solution to your obstacle.
  • Be an advocate. Sometimes people get stuck in a rut. If kids and teens have never served in meaningful ways before, why start now? You may need to educate church leaders and be an advocate for all of the young people in your church – not just your kids. It may take time, but finding a way for your kids to serve God regularly in their congregations is crucial.
  • Don’t be afraid to step outside the building. Your kids can serve God in their communities and around the world. Find ways for them to serve others and share their faith, whether or not they can use their gifts in your congregation. The goal is to help them see the plans God has for using their gifts to serve Him. Don’t forget, God may have a reason He wants your child serving in a particular place.
  • Keep this entire journey in your prayers and have regular conversations with your kids about it. If you don’t keep your focus on God in this process or explain to your kids why they are doing the things they are doing, you may find the focus has shifted away from serving God and towards hobbies and careers. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but if you leave God out of the process, it ends up secular every time.

    Does this take a lot of time? Honestly, yes. But helping your kids find their purpose in God’s kingdom is key to building a strong faith foundation and reaching their godly potential.

Helping Your Kids Discover Their Gifts From God

One of the “big” questions kids have about life and faith is what God created them to do. They are curious whether or not God gave them gifts or talents. They want to know what those gifts or talents might be and how they can discover them. They wonder how God wants them to use their talents to serve Him.

They probably can’t articulate those questions quite yet, but they are there waiting to be explored. Some children learn quickly that they have a special talent for art or music or that they are gifted with extra intelligence or athletic ability.

For other children, their gifts may not be quite as obvious to themselves or the adults around them. As they begin hearing Christians talk about gifts, they may silently wonder if God forgot them. Children who struggle in school or have special needs may actually begin to believe God indeed forgot to give them any gifts or talents.

The truth though is found in an Old Testament story and a couple of parables in the New Testament. In Exodus 31, we see God giving people gifts to help them build the Tabernacle. It appears God may have enhanced talents He had already given some of them, while others may have received these talents for the first time.

In the New Testament parables of the talents and the minas (Matthew 25 and Luke 19), we see a master giving varying amounts of gifts to care for in his absence. In both parables, some of the servants use these gifts wisely and return to the master more than he gave them. In each parable, one servant did nothing with the gift he was given. When the master returned, the servant was chastised for not using the gift and it was taken from him.

Most Christians believe the talents and minas represent the gifts God gives us. While everyone receives at least one gift, the distribution is unequal. God’s expectation, however, is that everyone will use any gift He gives them wisely.

Your children will have a difficult time using their gifts from God wisely, if they never discover them. They will need your help in exploring possible areas of giftedness. Some of your children may have multiple gifts, while others may have one or two.

Don’t be concerned about the number of gifts or talents each child has been given. Rather focus on helping them discover all of the gifts God has given them. This can be more difficult if your children were given gifts that we don’t normally think about when we discuss using our gifts to serve God.

Below you will find a list of some of the many possible gifts your kids may have received from God. Spend time praying about it. Watch your children and look for sparks of these gifts. Ask them their opinions. Give them chances to experiment in these areas to see if there is potential talent.

  • Ability to Focus
  • Accounting
  • Adaptability
  • Athletic Ability
  • Audio Visual
  • Automobile Repair
  • Analyzing
  • Art
  • Asking Questions
  • Building
  • Computer Coding
  • Cooking
  • Counseling
  • Crafts
  • Decorating
  • Detail Oriented
  • Drama
  • Editing
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Encouragement
  • Enthusiasm
  • Faith Sharing
  • Fashion/Clothing
  • Generosity
  • Greeting/Outreach
  • Human Resources/Talent Identification in Others
  • Humor
  • Imagination
  • Intelligence
  • Juggling
  • Listening
  • Marketing
  • Math
  • Medicine
  • Mercy
  • Music
  • Networking
  • Organizing
  • Photography
  • Problem Solving
  • Public Speaking
  • Research
  • Risk Management
  • Science
  • Self Control
  • Service
  • Social Media
  • Stewardship
  • Teaching
  • Time Management
  • Typing
  • Video Production
  • Wood Working
  • Writing

It may take time to discover all of the gifts God has given your children to serve Him. Don’t stop searching until you have discovered at least one gift from God for each of your children. Tomorrow I will share some creative ways to help your children begin to develop their gifts and find ways to use them to serve God.