At a recent Bible quizzing event, I was surprised at my reaction to a little guy reciting this verse. The verse is not unfamiliar. But for some reason what popped into my mind, this time, was a sad scene: a bunch of eighty- and ninety-year-old guys clinging desperately to their youth, hobbling around the soccer field, kicking the ball with their canes.
Often, when we consider this verse, we’re debating whether parents are just supposed to train their kids to do the right thing (the less fashionable option) or whether it’s instructing parents to find out what is unique about their child (the interpretation currently in vogue). Why make it so complicated? Maybe God is just telling us that habit is a powerful tool, and we have the opportunity to build positive habits into our children’s lives.
Make habit your servant. Consider what habits you are building now and how they will serve your kids as adults. In the Mielke household, we have not had a TV for 10 years and we still have trouble getting to bed before the 11 o’clock news!
If I were starting over, I would:
- Make cleaning up after dinner a fun part of the actual meal. Everyone participates!
- Continue family reading, even after the kids can read much more efficiently on their own. (Allows for rich discussion of life choices and consequences WITHOUT using your friends as examples!)
- Ask about the kids’ memory verses, and help them see how they relate to everyday life.
Habits I am happy we have developed:
- Eating dinner together everyday. Followed by general hilarity. Laughing so hard you fall off your chair, what could be more fun?
- Inviting others to church, Awana, MOPS, and everything else we do.
- Scripture memory! My daughters are so much better at it than I am, AND they have learned to work hard.
- Daily Bible reading. Parents, do your kids see you reading your Bible?
What about you? Do the habits you are building into your kids support the priorities you want them to grow up with?