Creating Hard Stops For Discipleship Training

by Christin on September 20, 2011 in Faithfulness, Nurture

Let’s face it. Life is busy. Even if your children don’t participate in an abundance of extracurricular activities, life is still busy. Keeping house keeps mother’s busy. There is always something left undone by the end of the night.

It is so easy to get caught up in those things that are immediately seen. You see dirty dishes and dirty floors, and know you must wash them. You see unfolded laundry that needs tending to. Children need to be fed several times a day. Those needs that beg your immediate attention are often the things that you focus on caring for.

These are not bad things to care for. It is required we care for our children and homes. But, friends, too easily we lose sight of the vision God has given us as mothers. We get too wrapped up and forget the crucial, most pressing need of our children: discipleship. Not passive Bible stories or Bible coloring pages and crafts. Rather, real, intentional, scheduled-in time to sit with our children and nurture their hearts to live for Christ.

Being a living example is also excellent, and necessary, but I wonder if the intentional teaching with the living examples shouldn’t go hand-in-hand? Like you can’t have one without the other?

I could live for Christ, but if I don’t talk about Him with my children and have conversations about why I make the decisions I do, avoiding certain things, embracing others, what good is that to them? They only see a mother who lives a morally dignified life. Nothing more. Spending intentional time having conversations is important. But so is setting time aside to specifically teach and talk about Christ; just as He did with the crowds of people.

Creating hard stops specifically for discipleship training does several things. Now, when I say hard stops, what I mean is stopping whatever it is you’re doing to meet together for discipleship. You can do this by adding it into your schedule or doing it at a specific time each day [or several times each day]. Stopping hard simply means dropping whatever you’re doing and making it happen.

Here’s what it does:

  1. It shows your children learning about Jesus is important. When you specifically set aside time from each day and guard it, your children see that you value this time.
  2. It develops a consistent habit of training. Having this habitual teaching and training helps your children grow consistently in character and in Christ. In addition, it will keep the things of God in the front of their minds and they will more readily be equipped to apply the teachings to their lives.
  3. It offers direction and instruction to help your children make better choices. When we intentionally teach our children, we can often prevent bad choices or bad behavior before they develop. We are being proactive rather than reactive.

Planning these times are not hard, it’s following through that can be challenging. The first week can be easy because you begin with gusto. But once the second and third weeks roll around, circumstances arise that seek to steal this time. We must guard this time as precious. Keep it a priority and do not allow complaceny to creep in.

I find that what happens when I miss a day, is that I write it off as no big deal; kind of being nonchalant about it. The problem is, because of this attitude, I do it again the next day. And the more I allow that time to slip away, the easier it is to let it go. Before I know it, our discipleship time is a distant memory that has dissipated due to a complacent attitude.

There will be days missed. It happens. And by all means, give yourself grace, for His are new every morning. But, the goal is to get back to it as soon as possible. Do not let distractions rob you of intentional discipleship with your children.

Looking for practical ways to disciple your children? Visit me at Joyful Mothering this month as I share how we do this and what resources we use.

By Christin, Joyful Mothering

 

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christin

Christin is the wife to a compassionate, God-fearing man, mother & homeschooler of five children (two girls, three boys). She is a woman lost in God. She sees beauty in simple things and appreciates a good cup of coffee. She is learning to live her everydays with joy, find gratitude in the mundane, and speak words of grace. You can find her writing through her days at Joyful Mothering, and tweeting her thoughts on Twitter @ChristinWrites.

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{ 4 comments }

Veronica September 20, 2011

Christin, You are so right! The intentional teaching, and the living example must go hand-in-hand! We can talk all we want about Christ, and living for Him, but if we aren’t modeling it, all our children will see is hypocrisy. But, the reverse is also true. If we seek to live our lives for Christ without ever explaining the why or the “how” to our children, we’ll end up with great little Pharisees!
Praying that today would be a day of intentionally seeking out those moments of purposeful discipleship with my girl!!

Amy September 20, 2011

I agree with this so much! I’ve taught Sunday school for various age groups at church and I can tell you from my years with the 5th graders that by the time these children reach age 10-11, I can see a real results in the lives of the children whose parents invest time in that discipleship training and in living out their faith in front of their children. Children absorb things like sponges and there have been some children in my class who are so much more mature in their faith than I was at that age and I can’t wait to see what they do with their futures. It’s beautiful to see.

Lisa September 20, 2011

Thank you for this beautiful reminder of what truly is important in our lives. Our children need to see our example in both our actions and in our words. Everything we do must be to bring Him glory!

Many blessings,
Lisa

Christin September 21, 2011

Thank you ladies for your encouraging comments! 🙂

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