I just enjoyed a great lunch with a solid believer who is aiming to live his life and lead his family in a gospel-centered mentality. These types of conversations are just invaluable to me. One of the things we talked about was parenting. And in specific, trying to be disciplined with our time with our time in our homes. Since we both are busy and have relatively large families, this is an important question.
One of the things that I have tried to do in our home that has been helpful and beneficial is to be very intentional with everyone. Now, we have seven people in our house. Five of the seven are kids and they range in age from 15 mos to 15 yrs. Therefore, this gets hard. And I will confess, and my family will agree, that I have not done this perfectly over the years. However, this does not diminish the value of being intentional over the long haul.
I have these divided up into a couple of areas in my mind.
1. SERVE THEM: This should be the mindset for us as Christians (Mk. 10.45; Phil. 2.3ff). So in the context of the home I want to look for opportunities to serve. This could by playing blocks, reading kids books, playing football, doing laundry, doing someone’s chores, leading the family in devotions and prayer. There are tons of ways to put on the apron and serve our families. This shows in a practical way that we love them and believe the gospel. Ask the question, “How can I serve…this person tonight?” And pray for wisdom and then get after it.
2. MAKE THEM SMILE: In view of knowing your wife and children there are ways in which we can make them smile. This may be by being playful, funny, sarcastic, romantic, adventurous, sensitive, or whatever. But it will always be thoughtful. Therefore, we must think about how to be thoughtful and intentional. There is nothing better for me than looking eye to eye with one of the six most important people in my life and having them respond with a smile. If somehow I have done that then I am blessed. I want to love them and have them feel it.
These are especially important if we are busy and work long hours. The last thing we want to do is bring our work home with us and treat the family like accessories to our lives. I have been convicted of this of late. Sometimes after hard days I want to unplug when I come home. However, I have become convinced that that is precisely the time that I need to plug in! If I can intentionally serve my family and make them smile while communicating the power and image of the gospel, then I am truly blessed as a dad and a husband.