Here we are. Still stuck at home. On the one hand, wondering when we get back to normal. On the other hand, a bit scared for what that will mean when that times comes. This house, which at one time seemed too big, now seems to be closing in on me. We homeschool, so this shouldn’t be hard right? We can still do school. The kids are always together. But over the last few weeks, I think we can all agree that this time spent at home—however necessary—is anything but easy.
But my wife and I are resolved to use this time as best we can. We want to use this time to dial in our marriage, our relationships as a family, and how we disciple our kids. Now you might have guessed that as a homeschool family, discipleship is something that is always on our minds—that Jesus is in every bit of school. And you’d be right. We are fortunate to have curriculum that helps our kids see God in all things—math, science, reading, etc. But let me be clear, our focus on building a biblical worldview in our kids does not somehow preclude them from the temptation of sin that surrounds us everyday, all day.
It’s there. And the longer we co-exist within these four walls, the greater the temptation. Making our efforts to use this time wisely is that much more critical–and difficult. However, about a week ago, I began to notice that conversations were getting harder to come by. I felt like I was forcing the issue and therefore forcing my kids into silence. Silence creates awkward moments, giving all the more reason to revert to what is easy—just wait until church reopens and go from there. No one likes awkward moments. Right?
But I don’t think that’s an option. Nor should it be. It’s going to be a while (more than likely) before church looks “normal”—if we can use that word. We have to consider that church may forever look different. And despite the great job many pastors and church are doing to navigate these rough and uncharted waters, families cannot—and frankly should not—solely rely on the church’s efforts. Discipling your kids is your job. Period. The church is here to help. Because it does take a village. But while we wait for the village to reconvene, discipleship continues on. You’re running point, so it’s time to start playing.
If you’re like me, you started off with the greatest of intentions, but those intentions taper off in time. So to help you keep the conversations going, the discipleship fresh, and our eyes fixed on Jesus, here are five questions that I have been focused on with our tribe over the last several days. Read through them, then I’ll provide some ideas on how to best use them.
What do you love the most?
No this isn’t a trick question. Yes, my kids answered Jesus. Luckily that’s not the point. I am sure your kids already know that they should love Jesus the most. So that’s not really the conversation I think you should have. Try instead to focus on talking about the difference between loving family, objects, activities, and Jesus. What they say they love is and how their love is reflected through their actions is likely different. Help them see that.
What distracts you from growing in your faith?
Distractions are incredibly distracting. I know, deep right? But maybe even more so when we are bored. It is so much easier to scroll through social media, binge watch Netflix, or lose all time and space gaming, than reading the Bible, praying, and seeking out ways to love our neighbors. But the first step in overcoming such distractions is to identify them and challenge each other to do better.
What sins are the most difficult to leave behind?
I continue to believe sin is a subject we simply don’t talk about enough. Not in a “turn or burn” sense, but openly and honestly talking about the mess sin has caused in our lives—personally and even globally.
What does it mean to love your neighbor?
Social (or better, physical distancing) has given us permission to ignore our neighbors. Don’t. Talk about creative ways you can be Jesus to family, friends, and neighbors while still respecting your local governments’ wishes to protect the lives of others.
How important is your church community?
Now that we haven’t been at church for several weeks, it is interesting to talk with your kids about the impact their church community has made in their lives and helps open the conversation about why community is so important in the life of a disciple.
I am sure there are so many more questions that could be asked. Ask those too. The point here is not to use these questions as a step by step guide for sure-fire discipleship while stuck at home. Instead, I wanted to provide a few ideas that will help get the ball rolling—a little nudge to keep us out of the rut. We take one question to ask during breakfast to get the kids thinking. We might remind them of it at some point in the day. Then at dinner, talk in a little more detail.
Some days the questions will flop. However, other days you might find dinner takes twice as long because the conversation just keep going. It might spark an argument, tears, anxiety, or angst. That’s ok. Keep talking. Those issue will find resolution. But if nothing else, you will be showing your kids just how much you value their walk with Jesus.