“Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places” (1 Samuel 7:15–16). “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1Samuel 8:3).
Children need attention. They spell love T-I-M-E. We can be so busy, even busy doing good things, we miss out on God’s best, which is spending time with our children. They need time to laugh and time to cry, time to run and jump, and time to be still and nap. Children need time to pray, go to the library, make snow angels, ski, play dolls, dress up, make believe, play in the dirt, climb trees, and play hide-and-seek.
Parents have the tremendous privilege of investing time in their children by having dates, hunting, and shopping together. You can take trips, run on the beach, chase sand crabs, swim, and watch the sun go down. You can eat a peanut butter sandwich and pretzels at their school, attend their sporting events, and proudly watch their school play or awards ceremony.
If we miss our children experiencing life, we neglect them. If we neglect our children, there is a high probability they will reject us and/or our faith. Indeed, their perception of dad and mom is their perception of God. If we are distant, uninvolved, and disengaged, so they will see their heavenly Father. Therefore, invest time, money, and love in your children.
Children require, and in some cases demand, a lot of attention. Your role is to be there for them, to be available. Your quality time with your children flows from your quantity time with them. You cannot stage or script quality time, it just happens, and you have to be around them to enjoy its benefit. When children are comfortable, they open up. Sometimes unexpectedly they begin to share their hearts. These spontaneous snippets of time become precious, teachable moments. Remember, quality time requires quantity time.
For example, after attending their sporting event, affirm and encourage them. They already know about their mistakes. They just need to know everything is okay and they will do better next time. The most important part is showing up. You are the first person they look for in the crowd. When you are there, it shows you care. You cannot make up for these childhood days, but there will be other deals, work projects, ministry roles, and business opportunities. Be careful not to let work or ministry compete with your family.
When at all possible, integrate two competing responsibilities. It may mean a family mission trip or serving together in the church nursery. If work requires travel, take a child with you. Make it a special trip with just the two of you. Let your children watch you “do life.” Let them see you trusting God with a difficult situation or watch you give Him credit for a great success. Then as they mature into adults, your children feel accepted rather than neglected, they respect mom and dad, and they embrace faith in Jesus.
Prayer: How does my child like to spend time with me?
Post/Tweet: Quality time with our children flows from our quantity time with them. #childtime
© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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