Too often, however, our lives constantly look like ours has this week -- everyone running in different directions, barely stopping long enough to shovel in a meal. This isn't what God had in mind for us and our families. When we're so busy running, we don't have time to stop and let God speak to us, and if we create an atmosphere of constant activity for our kids, they will never learn how to be still.
Psalm 46:10 tells us to "Be still and know that I am God." Jesus often took time away from the crowds and his disciples to spend time with His heavenly father. God wants us to do the same. John 10:10 says "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." That verse doesn't say "I have come that they may have a life that's crammed full."
We do our kids and our families a disservice when we don't teach them the value of having some quiet, down time. It's only in those still, quiet moments that we can truly hear God's voice. Often, I think, God is speaking to us, but we're so busy trying to get to the next activity or plan the next play date that we simply miss hearing Him. We don't want our children to grow up unable to hear God's voice through the noise of all that's going on around them.
In this era of busyness, how do we teach our children to enjoy the still, quiet moments, and how do we go about creating some of those moments with our families?
- Take a good, hard look at your schedule and set some limits. Your children do not have to be involved in every activity the school, the church or the soccer team offers. Decide what the limits are for your family. Our girls are allowed to participate in one sport at a time along with church activities and Awana. That may be too much or too little for your family. It works out just right for us most days. Your schedule should not be so packed that you never eat dinner together as a family and the best time you and your kids spend together is in the car. While you can have some great conversations in the car, that shouldn't be your only contact with your kids.
- Begin early, instilling a habit of a quiet time in your kids. Set aside some time in the day that each member of your family has a quiet time with God. My girls each have a devotional book. They do a devotional each morning as part of their morning routine. They can't do anything else until their morning checklist is done, which includes their devotional time.
- Carve out some times in your family's schedule where you don't plan anything. Just spend the day at home. You'll be surprised at how freeing it is to have a day at home, just spending time together. Your kids will be more relaxed, and often you will, too.
- Pick a clear, starry night and have your family lay on a blanket in the back yard contemplating the stars. Talk about how God made the stars and knows how many there are. Get a glimpse of the greatness of God through His creation. Spend some time being still and praying together as a family.