Now that summer is in full swing, I’m truly enjoying these more laid back days with no rushing here, there, and everywhere. In the busyness of the school year, it is easy to pass from activity to activity and not really take in the moments. We have read Deuteronomy 6:7 many times, and I am taking this to heart as we are going about our summer.
Before school ended, I began praying, asking God what specific area of spiritual growth I needed to focus on this summer with my kids. I was racking my brain trying to come up with some “cutesy,” fun activities to engage my children. The Lord very clearly told me we needed to talk more. Talk more?? What?? If you have spent much time with my family, you know we like to talk…a lot. And we can be a “little” loud. So talking more seemed kind of silly. But when I started thinking and praying about it more, I was convicted about how much time I am missing when it comes to talking intentionally with my kids. I wish I could say my kids never watch television and never play on the iPhone or iPad, but that’s just not true. I’m not sure we will completely eliminate these things this summer, but I do want to be more intentional in having relational conversations with my kiddos on a daily basis.
If you’ve ever parented a three year old, you have heard “Why?”, “How?”, “When?”, “Where?”, and many other questions asked over and over! Children are natural thinkers and, as parents who want to train them in how they should follow the Lord, we should take advantage of this natural curiosity! So that’s my plan this summer – talk and question more, dig deeper into what they are thinking, how they see the world, and ultimately where they see God in everyday things. This may seem super simple, but I’ve learned simple is best when it comes to kids!
Questions for Initiating Relational Conversations With Kids
I started a list of a few questions I have tried to ask my kids every day. We do this in the car, before bed, during fun summer activities, after a movie, or any time during the day when we are all together.
- What can we praise God for?
- Who can we pray for?
- How can mommy pray for you?
- Where did you see God today?
- What reminded you of Jesus today?
- What does that tell you about God?
My kids are eight, six, and three, so the answer you get on these varies by child. I have gotten frustrated with some answers, laughed at a lot of answers, and praised the Lord for how I see them growing! Here are a few recent conversations:
Jack, age three, told me the other night before I could ask any questions, “Mama, I saw God in that dog we saw tonight. It was sweet and God is sweet.” A three-year-old can taste and see that the Lord is good, even through a sweet dog!
Caroline, age six, said, “These waves in the ocean remind me of the story in the Bible of Jesus calming the storm. It would be really hard to calm these waves. God is really strong!” We were then able to talk more about what it says about Jesus in Matthew 8:23-27.
Molly Cate, age eight, said, “I saw God today in the shells we collected.” I asked, “What made you think of that?” She replied, “God created all things, and God created us. The shells are all different just like we are all different.” I asked, “What does that tell you about God?” She said, “That He is very creative!”
My prayer is to ignite conversations with my children so their hearts will burn for the Lord. I want them to see God in every, little aspect of their day. Ultimately I pray and desire that they can continue to have these relational conversations with friends, neighbors, classmates, future coworkers, etc. Why? So, prayerfully, these future relational conversations will give my children opportunities to share the gospel with anyone and everyone “as they go.”
“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28
In, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman, she writes:
“I just think it is wonderful to teach children that fellowship with Christ is not constrained to formally religious experiences or places. My kids believe that is true. Jesus is with us everywhere we go because He rules over the world He’s created, and He indwells those who believe in Him.”
Amen, Gloria! This is exactly what I want my kids to understand, and KNOW!
I hope this will be an encouragement to dig deeper with your kids this summer and beyond. May we encourage them to engage in the world around them and explore how they see God working and moving. This has been a challenge for me, but I have been so blessed by what my kids are telling me. Some days you may get answers like, “I don’t want to talk about that now,” or “No, I don’t see anything that reminds me of Jesus” when they just saw a million fireflies in the dark night. Push through and sweetly share what you saw and how God is showing YOU things. They are taking it all in, even when you think they are not!
Fun Idea to Go Along
My kids like to draw and color. In trying to keep their minds on our conversations throughout the day, they are keeping a log, which gives them a fun, quiet activity as well. These journals will be a sweet reminder in years to come how God has grown them and how they viewed God’s world at each age.
Have fun talking with your kids this summer! If you begin this challenge along with me, I’m sure you will have some amazing, relational conversations with them that point them to our Savior.
HAPPY SUMMER, from my family to yours!
*We are four weeks into our “Summer Series” about being intentional with our kids, especially during the slower days of summer. How are you going about this challenge in your home? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!