D.I.Y. Spiritual Training for Your Kids
Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy? How about when it comes to teaching spiritual lessons to your kids? For some guys, that’s harder than finishing the basement or changing the oil. But sometimes it just takes some good ideas to get started.
Try one or more of these to take a walk through the Bible with your sons and daughters—to drive home some important points while your kids are home for Christmas break. Ask them for 30 minutes or an hour so that you can begin to highlight the following books or passages of Scripture with them. In true D.I.Y., man-of-action style, I’ll keep the list short and sweet.
1. Read a proverb or the whole book of Proverbs, which speaks out against sloth or slack and in favor of being diligent, hardworking, and wise.
2. Read and discuss Paul’s warning in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (NIV). How does it apply to you and your kids?
3. Read about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, which talks about God’s expectations regarding the abilities He has given us. Talk about each of your own abilities, how you’re using them or not, and what you could do to apply them best.
4. Review Paul’s counsel that equates work with serving the Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23-24).
5. Review sins that pertain to the marketplace—pilfering (Titus 2:9-10), slackness (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12), being a man-pleaser (Colossians 3:22). How do these apply to you?
6. Study “the wife of noble character” in Proverbs 31:10-31, who “works with eager hands” and “gets up while it is still dark” and is “clothed with strength and dignity.”
7. Read Genesis 2:2 about God resting after His work. What does this teach us about keeping the Sabbath a day set apart for rest, Sunday worship and family?
Here are a few more starters for thought and discussion.
8. In Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he provides an entirely new paradigm of delegation, called “Green and Clean.” The idea is to train our sons and daughters to be stewards who are trusted, their own bosses governed by conscience and committed to agreed-upon results. Ask them how will such an approach help prepare your son or daughter for the workplace? How can it apply to them now as students?
9. Ask them what this Indian proverb means: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” How does it apply to them? How does it apply to you in the task of preparing your son or daughter for the workplace?
10. Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “No amount of technical administrative skill in laboring. . . can ever make up for a lack of nobility of personal character. . . . It is at a very essential, one-on-one level that we live the primary laws of love and life.” Ask your kids if they agree and why or why not.
Which action will you start with to engage your kids in spiritual lessons?
Fr. Michael A. O’Donnell, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, researcher, and international lecturer best known for his Adolescent Wellness Research Project. He is a former Professor of Family Studies and Department Chair of Psychology & Behavioral Sciences at Rochester College. And he currently serves as Rector of St. John’s Church in Ogdensburg, N.Y. Michael’s eight books include A Question of Honor and How A Man Prepares His Sons for Life, which was nominated for Christianity Today and Gold Medallion book awards.