I was recently having coffee with a dad who has 3 incredible kids. One is in college pursuing a communications degree, one is about to graduate, and the other is a junior. Two of the three are incredibly gifted athletes. One will soon play Division 1 baseball and the other Division 1 basketball. After listening to him talk through their daily and weekly routine I was exhausted for him. Their days are filled with early mornings rushing to practices, after school private lessons, and multiple games a week. To say they are busy is an understatement. This reality is common amongst most families with teenagers. Whether it is because of sports, academics, drama, or music, parents are busier than ever. So, where does family devotion time fit into the busy schedule? How do we make time when time is the thing we seem to have the least of? My response is not mind-blowing or deeply rooted in hours of theological reasoning. My response is simple: You make time for what is important. My older brother and I had the privilege of playing baseball at the college level. Both parents followed me around until I was 22 years old. Go ahead and say it, “bless their heart”. Needless to say my parents fully understood busy schedules. However, my parents also understood taking time for what is most important. It did not matter if we were on the road to Tyler, Texas or West Florida, my parents would always make time to talk about what God was doing in our lives. The key here is “make time”. Think about it, we make time for everything else in our lives: Monday Night Football, The Amazing Race, social media updates, dinner, coffee, etc. So why not make time for family to discuss what God is up to? Our knee-jerk reaction is to say we are too busy, but I want to encourage you to remove that word from your vocabulary and think about the benefits of making time for family devotion. You have the unique opportunity to instill in your kids the importance of making time for Jesus. As a 35-year-old husband and father I often think back to the time my parents made for us to discuss the Bible and our relationship with Jesus. I am now replicating what my parents modeled for me as a child. The greatest thing you can model for your kids is how to make time for Jesus. I want to provide for you a few tips that may help as you navigate busy schedules and family devotion:
- Look Ahead – Every Sunday look at your calendar and see when the best time would be that week to have a family devotion. Oh, and it may be on the road to a ball game or in a hotel room in between games. We did that a few times.
- Have a Plan – Memorize a verse together, read one chapter a week as a family, write down prayer requests, have a different person lead each week. If you plan it, you will more than likely do it.
- Be Consistent – Regardless of your schedule, make sure it happens each week. The best way to do this is to designate a specific day and time each week as your family devo time. My wife and I recently sat down and said Thursday is our family time. We had to do this or we would move it and not do it.
- Take the Pressure Off – Chances are you do not have a theology degree. That is okay. Take the pressure off of yourself to have all the answers. The greatest thing my dad would say is, “Son, I don’t know about that but let me find out.” The goal isn’t to have it all figured out. The goal is to make it important. You can figure out together how there was a talking donkey in Numbers 22. Good luck with that one!