Parenting is an ever-changing affair. Along the way, I’ve felt frustrated. It seems as soon as I have something figured out, everything changes. There’s a new challenge, mood or behavior cropping up and I have no idea how to handle it. This doesn’t change with pre-teens.
Over the years, our family has taken devotional time together. When they were little, we would read and pray with them before bed. As they got bigger, we moved to family devotions around the breakfast table. Much to my dismay, that too has gone by the wayside. Life is busy and finding the time when we are all together is rare. And to be honest, we simply haven’t made it a priority.
During Christmas, I like to read Advent devotions with the kids. We sit down as a family and read these amazing books written by Arnold Ytreeide. There are three books in the series and we love them. When I first called everyone together for our Advent reading, my kids groaned and moaned. “Not this again,” they sighed. I admit, they feel like they are getting too old for this. But each night we sit and read our little story. After the first couple of readings, they started to enjoy the story.
Yes, against their will, I made them sit with their dad and I and we are reading the story together. Quickly, their attitudes have changed. It may not be their favorite thing to do each night, but I think there’s a little something that makes them happy to listen to their Mom read this story about the coming of Christ.
There is no magic formula to parenting. You can do all of the right things and be the best parent only to have a child go astray. But you can’t stop trying. Make time to spend with them even when they roll their eyes at your suggestion. (Those eye rolls really mean they are excited but are too cool to show it.) And whenever you have the opportunity to train them spiritually, go for it. You only have them for such a short period of time. Take advantage when you can.
If you would like to order the books I mentioned, you can find them at Christianbook.com.
- Advent Ideas for Families (hemustbecomegreater.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating Advent: Sharing a Family Devotional (thelaundryblog.wordpress.com)
- Advent 1: “What to Expect When You are Expecting” (musingsfromabricolage.wordpress.com)