PARENTS: GIVE YOUR KIDS THE GIFT OF TIME ⏰ + 5️⃣ suggested ways…

The Bible teaches us to make wise use of our time (Eph 5:16-17). This is especially applicable when it comes to our kids. It’s been said that to a child, love is spell T-I-M-E.

In today’s world that prizes performance and achievement, kids need time with us when they’re not performing or we’re not lecturing. Time that builds “relational equity.” Time without an agenda other than for them to be listened to, loved and valued.

We can’t afford to get this wrong. 2 Samuel 14 records the sad story of David’s son Absolom turning against him. And while much of the story is complex and especially ugly, it’s a story that we in modern times know all too well. Dad is too distant from his rebellious son, son rebels even worse, and it spirals from there.

Everyone is busy. Time is short. But we can do this.

About 10 years ago I was traveling and serving on a short term mission trip with a pastor named Mike that I really admire. Mike had it all in my opinion. He’d been a D1 athlete in college, earned an MBA, and was successful in the business world prior to being in ministry. He’s a gifted communicator of the Word and at the time we were serving together, he was literally known throughout the world for his heart for God and ability to train pastors. Well, one evening on our trip, after a really long day of serving and training in Romania, I walked by the training area and overheard Mike on an important Skype call…with his kids. And I just paused there for a minute and listened, and learned. He was genuinely interested in the events of their daily life. He was very encouraging, tender and loving. This man had worked a 13 hour day, fighting international time differences and jet lag (I know I was). He could’ve been getting some much needed rest or attending colleagues who’d hang on his every word. But he wasn’t too tired or too important to spend time with his kids. It wasn’t easy, but he gave them his love, energy, and encouragement through his time. Time well spent.

Here’s 5 suggested ways to get relational equity time with kids:

1️⃣ Bed time. Parent kid relationships, especially in the teen years, often include tension. The Bible says don’t let the sun go down on your anger so before bed is a good time to check in. When they’re little you can read to them, Bible stories or something else that engages their little minds. I’m the lamest dad ever 😆 so I have my teen kids turn their phones in at night. That means they can’t go to bed without coming to my room and my night stand. It works! Tell them goodnight. Share something from God’s Word with them. Give ‘em a hug. 📖 🛌 😴 And bedtime is a great time for the 2nd thing…

2️⃣ Pray with them. It doesn’t have to be super articulate or spoken in Old English. Kids don’t like fakes anyway. Just talk to God in front of your kids. Tell God you’re thankful that you get to be their parent. Pray that they make Jesus the main thing. Pray for their protection. Pray they have godly friends and good relationships with teachers, coaches and other people who lead them. I often make it a point to pray for their future spouse and that God would make me a better dad. Whatever’s on your heart, let God and your kids hear it. Kids listen intently to what we pray for them. Time in prayer is always time well spent. 🙏🏼 🙏🏼 🙏🏼

3️⃣ Take note of something they are passionate about that you’re not, and ask them about it often. They’re not the same as us. Notice how they relax as they inform you about an interest of theirs. You’re getting to know them and they’re getting your time. 🧐 📝 🗣 😃

4️⃣ Feed them. Kids of all ages love to eat! And something about a meal together fosters quality relationships. I’m sure it sounds kinda ‘Little House On the Prairie’ but we still try and get our family to the table to eat. There, more times that not, everyone has to share their “high – low”, the best and worst part of their day. I get a pulse for our family each time we get to do that. Even if you don’t get to the table, take them for sonic drink or ice cream or whatever they like. They tend to open up to mom and dad more when they’re enjoying caffeine and calories 😉 🥘 🥤 🍦

5️⃣ Take it outside. Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, bike rides, taking sunset pictures, playing ball in the yard and many other outdoor activities represent opportunities for relational equity time with kids.

I’ve taken all my kids fishing with me and all enjoy it. I think Phoebe likes the sunflower seeds we chew while fishing better than the fishing, but she’s still glad to go 😆 But with each of them it’s something we do together. Even when my grown kids were teens and we had challenges seeing eye to eye, we still loved fishing together. 🎣 🦌 🥾 🚴‍♀️ 📷 🌅 ⚽️ 🏀 🏈

These are 5 suggestions and there are many, many more. The method isn’t as important as the principle—give your kids the gift of your time. They need it, and so do parents. Life can be rough at times, but no amount of worldly pain can take away the joy of children that we love and they love us.

Use your time wisely.

Final note — the aim of this post is to help others in an area that I have struggled with myself, not to make parents feel guilty. Our model for this is our Heavenly Father who always has time for us and never relates to us on the basis of our performance. No one is perfect as He is. Please don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been through a busy season and haven’t spent as much time with your kids as you’d like. Pray about it, receive God’s grace, and move forward. It’s about direction not perfection. 🎯

#time #parenting #relationalequity

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