I live in denial about the first week of school all summer holidays. It’s the week when I negotiate and pull together my five school age children’s extra curricular timetable for the year. Juggling the piano lesson, with the French horn lesson, and the netball training. All at the same time … in different locations … with one car and one parent. Arrgh! It messes with my head and keeps me awake at night. Who knew that parenting could be such a logistical nightmare?
I’ve been considering where fitting in my kid’s church activities sits on my list of priorities. Are they the first thing I pencil in, or the last? Are they non-negotiables, or could one be bumped if netball training is suddenly moved? Will I be too tired to drive them to yet another activity on a Friday night? Will they be too tired to even want to go?
In 2011, I interviewed a group of friends who grew up in Christian homes and are today committed Christian adults. I asked them what it was about their family that encouraged them towards trusting Jesus for themselves. I thought it might be fabulous family devotions or strict routines. But interestingly, the most common answer was the consistent example of their parents modelling life with Jesus as their priority.
So, firstly I need to show my children that I’m prioritising what is important by committing myself to being at church and Bible study each week. And then secondly, I need to ensure that there is room in my kids' lives for them to be regular at their Christian groups.
This year, I’m going to lock in the kids' club on Monday afternoon FIRST and the Friday night youth group FIRST and my Sunday afternoon Bible study FIRST. Yes my kids (and me) might feel sad if we have to miss out on something that feels important now, but I don’t want them to miss out on discovering what is truly important for the whole of their lives. Ultimately, it is only through God’s spirit and grace that my children will come to know Jesus for themselves, but as their mum, I am called to help my children know what it looks like to put Jesus first, each and everyday.
I’m hoping that the edge they gain this year will not be great success in music or sport, but a deeper understanding that it is only through trusting in God’s grace and kindness to us in sending Jesus, that we can know life and life to the full.