If you are a parent, January isn’t really the beginning of your child’s year, its half time. Your family year begins in August as the children start school and all their other activities. The question is, what do you do with half-time?
What do coaches do with half-time? Do they take the players into the locker room and celebrate that they are almost over with the game? Do they just relax before going back on the field? No! Leaders of the team make adjustments, and that’s exactly what the first weeks in January are for: making the necessary evaluations and adjustments for the family.
As you reflect on this past year, are there any regrets? Any parenting or family regrets? Ask yourself the question: “What would I have done differently with my children this first half of the year?” What got away from you?
As you review the first half, (and you must), was there too much in your family schedule or was it just not enough of the best stuff? January is the time to change the second half. Chances are it was a little of both: too busy and not making the best use of this year.
Consider the end game
Begin by looking at the end of the game. In the years or months to come, when you are dropping your children off at a college campus, what do you want to make sure they know?
I have to say that there are few parents that wish they had spent more time honing the child’s soccer skill. I’ve never heard a parent say that they were disappointed that their child went off to college and walked away from soccer. No one has said that college so overwhelmed their child that he or she dropped a sport from their schedule.
Over and over parents are asking, “What did you do with your children to keep their faith in tact while they were in college. My response was, “Both of my children actually grew their faith while they were away in college.”
Put spiritual development on the calendar
One of the most basic things that we must do is decide that the development of the child’s faith is important enough to make it on the calendar. Second, is it as important as seeing to it that a child brushes his or her teeth each day? If it is, and it is, then we need to put spiritual development on the calendar each day.
Some people get up early each morning to work out. Instead choose to go into the second half getting up early each morning to work out the salvation of your children. Paul challenges us to work out the salvation God has placed in us when we come to Christ (Philippians 2:12). Helping your children work their salvation into their daily lives takes time each morning. Get the family discipline to eat breakfast together at a table. While the children are eating, take a few minutes to read a few verse from the Bible and then spend the remainder of breakfast talking together about what you just read. Finish breakfast with prayer.
At the end of each day, sit on the side of the bed with each child and pray with them before they go to sleep. Ask them what you can pray for them. Guide their pray concerns and remind them later of answered prayer.
Paul told his “children” at the Philippian church that they did what they needed to do when he was with them. Now he was challenging them to continue to work Christ into the center of their lives when he wasn’t with them. In our application, when they are away at college.
This is half time. Don’t go back out and play the same game the second half. Make the adjustments. Go for the win. When you drop your child off at college you’ll be able to say, “I’m glad I did!” rather than “I wish I had!”
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.