A young man walked out of his room leaving a trail of candy wrappers and drink cans with no thought of who would have to pick up after his messiness. If we could get in a time machine and rewind fifteen years, we’d see little difference. Unfortunately, when he was a child this young man’s parents did not expect him to pick up after himself, and now as a young adult the habit has stuck.
Have you known someone like this—a child in adult skin? The truth is that some of us may be that adult who never picked up his stuff as a kid. And now, as an adult, the engrained behavior has stuck. It has become a habit, a way of life. It is not a matter of malice or even thought, it is just the way he is.
Last Sunday during the drop-off time at church I saw a young dad, down on one knee in the middle of our hallway, face to face with his four-year-old. From a distance I could tell that it was a serious and lengthy discussion. Later in the morning I saw this dad and asked what the “heart to heart” in the hall was about.
He explained, “My little girl is adopted. She came from a very deprived part of the world, where they could barely keep up with the essential needs of the kids in the orphanage. She spent those formative years starved for human interaction. So even though she now lives in a safe, secure home and is surrounded by people who care for her in a church like this one, she will still do anything to get attention. She can be good or she can be bad, but it is just to get attention. I was reminding her that she did not have to be bad in class because her teachers love her and will take care of her.”
It is amazing how our childhood can impact us today, even without our knowing it.
Our homes are the incubators for our adult behavior. What is tolerated at home as a child, even if it is only because of the busyness of life, may be celebrated as an adult.
We have a much higher probability of our kids becoming happy, fulfilled, successful adults if we provide an appropriate, somewhat disciplined childhood experience. Their future school, work, and family relationships will be strengthened by learning and practicing discipline in the safe context of their childhood home.
It is much easier for a teen or adult to continue good habits they grew up with than it is to form new habits as an adult. Discipleship begins at home. As parents, we are paving the way for our children to grow into a seeker of God and His Word rather than an adult who may catch a minute on the run in prayer and devotion.
When it comes to reading Scripture with your children, these are the four things I’ve found that work the best:
- Read Regularly—Form a life habit.
- Read Chronologically—Build a foundational understanding of God’s message.
- Read Briefly—Keep it simple and short.
- Read Interactively—Ensure the truths from Scripture stick by engaging with them in other ways.
The best way to disciple your children is to do it out of the overflow from your own time with the Lord.
Available for the first time in 2017 is Foundations for Kids, a resource designed to help children readFoundations through the Bible in all four ways listed above: regularly, chronologically, briefly, and interactively. It uses the exact same passages the adult uses, so parents and children can be on the same page every day of the year regarding Scripture reading.
Let’s use 2017 to begin a lifetime habit of discipleship for our kids.