Growing Kids Spiritually Through Everyday Experiences

Do you start your days with quiet time? I tried for many years to build it into my daily routine, only to build shame and disappointment in myself in its place. My life was busy, and my mornings with five kids were often unpredictable. Instead, I found that weaving God into everyday moments was much more impactful and allowed for more growth.

The same is true for nurturing our kids’ faith. Fruit happens by consistently seizing everyday moments as opportunities to teach our children about Jesus.

Everyday Moments in the Bible

In Deuteronomy, Moses encouraged his community, the people of God, to seize the everyday moments as opportunities to teach their children.

“Listen, people of Israel! The Lord is our God. He is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength. Always remember these commands I give you today. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up. Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind you. Write them on your doors and gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ICB).

This type of family discipleship has yet to be modeled for all of us. We may be familiar with family devotions or set apart times for family worship, even for discipleship at church. But what does it look like to discipline our kids in everyday moments? How do we teach our children along the way of our busy, ordinary lives?

3 Simple Ways to Disciple Our Children

Looking at the verses in Deuteronomy 6 again, I see three simple ways to teach our kids about God and nurture their faith: Love, Teach and Play. Let’s dig into these three verbs more.

1. Love

The foundation of teaching our children about Jesus is loving him ourselves. We do this not only to model it for our children but to fill our cups and be equipped and empowered to reflect God in our parenting and disciplining our kids faithfully.

In everyday moments, it may look like praying out loud, walking through your decision-making efforts for your children, praising God for blessings or reading your Bible where little eyes can see you.

2. Teach

Teaching our kids about Jesus and the Bible doesn’t have to be a formal occasion filled with prepared lessons and the testing of knowledge or understanding. Moses’s instructions are to build it into the simple, everyday moments of life.

  • When You Sit at Home. As you sit together at home, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations. Talk about where you saw God today or how you reflected his love to others. Confess your missed opportunities or bring Jesus into your conflicts and resolutions.
  • Along the Road. Driving together in the car is one of my favorite times to have faith-based conversations. We often use our morning drive to school as a time of prayer or to memorize Bible verses together. My kids also feel safe asking curious questions in the car. One morning last week, our six-minute drive to school started in the Garden of Eden and ended with Christ’s return in Revelation, all by following their curiosities and wonderings.
  • When You Lie Down. Bedtime is the perfect opportunity to share Bible stories and prayers. But that doesn’t have to be the only time you talk about God’s Word. Listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and he will help you bring stories of the faith into your daily moments. Bedtime is also a great time to affirm your children’s identity in Christ with words of truth and blessing. These quiet times of connection are suitable for building faith and inviting God in.
  • When You Get Up. Depending on the temperament of your children and whether you are a morning person or not, you may want to greet the day with a loud praise of the Lord for another day. But a more low-key recognition of God’s faithfulness and request for him to guide your family through the day is also a great option. By recognizing daily, the gift of another day and seeking to follow his lead, we model and teach our kids that each day is not promised, but God’s goodness never fails.

3. Play

Now, I know the word “play” isn’t explicitly in these verses, but in my house, there is a lot of playing when we are at home, on the road, going to bed, and getting up.

Research shows that children learn best through play. Scripture shows that in God’s “presence is abundant joy” (Psalm 16:11, HCSB). In You Are Special: Neighborly Words of Wisdom from Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers writes, “It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”

Play is the language and work of children. It is how they make meaning of the world. When we bring Jesus into that play, we are showing children how to invite Jesus into their daily lives in real and meaningful ways, as well as modeling the joy and abundant life Christ offers us.

God in the Everyday

When my oldest (now 11) was about 4 years old, we were listening to “Last Christmas” by Wham! on the radio. The story of the song is that the singer was heartbroken the previous Christmas and, because of that, vowed to give his heart to “someone special” this year.

While the song was on, my daughter said, “If he wants to give his heart to someone special, why doesn’t he just give it to God?” Wow! I was blown away by the thought process and her understanding of God’s unconditional love.

This wasn’t something we had talked about with this song or ever tied together for her, but it was her 4-year-old mind and faith bringing God into the everyday moments.

When we weave God into the everyday moments of life, our kids will begin to do the same. But, if we limit God to church or even family devotion time, our kids will only find Him there. God is everywhere; let’s help our children to see, know, and experience Him all around.

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