You did it. This is real life, and you have FINALLY reached the end of the school year. No more homework or school projects, school dances, or parent-teacher conferences. No more rushing from school to practice to homework to shower to bed to repeat… take a deep breath; you’ve arrived!
There is nothing quite like pushing through something difficult and all-consuming to finally reaching the finish line. And what’s the first thing we want to do when we have survived something hard? Prop our feet up, sit back, and zone out. I don’t know many runners who the day after the marathon decide to go for a difficult run.
If we are honest with ourselves, this is what we tend to do with our summer breaks. We finally reach the end of a hectic and crazy spring season and we put our feet up, lean back, and power down. And I am not referring to the much-needed rest that summer break can bring. I am talking about more than rest; I am talking about checking-out altogether.
But as transformed parents seeking to influence our children in the love and admonition of the Lord, maybe we should take a step back and reconsider how we approach summer break with our kids. Think about it: What other season during the year provides us with uninterrupted, open time with our children?
DISCLAIMER: I am not here to add more things to do to your recently cleared schedule. I am talking about being intentional with your summer break as parents who are discipling your children. How can we as parents intentionally disciple our children this summer without adding business and stress back into our lives?
Let me encourage you in three areas to capitalize on over summer break for the betterment of your family’s eternity:
When the little children tried to come to Jesus in Matthew 19, the disciples rebuked them. “Jesus didn’t have time for them!” they likely thought. But Jesus knew the value of loving on children, and he desired to spend time with them. How much more should we desire to love on our own kids!
The bottom line is, intentionality takes purpose; and if we are to be intentional this summer, we need to be purposeful in our scheduling. Set aside a time each week, whether 30 minutes or an entire evening, dedicated ONLY to family time (no phones recommended). Watch a movie together, have a game night, go for a hike as a family. Be intentional to give your full attention and affection to your children. Let them know that you are grateful for them and cherish them. Show them that you aren’t just trying to fill their schedules to keep them busy, but that you genuinely desire time with them!
When one looks at the life of the apostle Paul’s protégé Timothy, one thing is clear: his grandmother and mother were intentional in their inclusion of Timothy as they served and worshipped the Lord. The results of Timothy’s life and ministry are the legacy of such inclusion.
The old adage is entirely true: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” When your children see you prioritize service during summer break, the impact can be extraordinary. Think about it: for the world, summer break is all about me. What do I want to do, where am I going to go, what am I going to experience. Flip the script and choose a service project to commit to as a family. Maybe it’s an international or domestic mission trip, maybe it’s serving at the homeless shelter once a month. Whatever it is, commit as a family to serve the kingdom of God this summer!
(Check out Shades’ Love Where You Live service day coming up this summer here!!!)
In God’s command to Hebrew families found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, intentional discipleship from parents to children is described as a fluid process. God doesn’t command each family to spend two hours in Bible study each day, nor does He command that each family memorize the four gospels. Instead, he commands them to talk about Him. That’s it. Whether they’re standing or sitting, walking or resting, they were to talk about Him. This is what it means to disciple your children as the passage says, “along the way."
So, when you’re swimming at the pool, going to the movies, driving to the church, or packing for camp: redeem those moments to point your children to Jesus! If you’re swimming, remind them of how the blood of Jesus washes them clean. If you’re watching a movie, talk about the characters and how they differ from how God wants us to live according to His Word. It’s amazing how much impact a five-minute conversation can have on your child’s walk with Christ. Be intentional to redeem the little moments of life for the Gospel.
So, how will you be intentional to disciple you’re kids this summer?