Yesterday my morning ricocheted between grappling with Romans 6 (Slaves to sin/slaves to Christ), hunting unfruitfully for brand new PE tops (WHERE did they go?), discussing the lyrics of Andrew Peterson’s ‘Lay me down to die’ with an emotional pre-adolescent and dealing with Monday morning tears. Is this normal?
Last week as the children rummaged for shoes and fumbled with velcro, I was asked which tribe of Israel we’re in and ended up discussing the fact that we’re children of Abraham by faith in the Lord Jesus, grafted in by faith. Hallelujah! “So we’re children of Abraham AND children of God, mummy?”
I suppose that’s what is meant by, “Talk about [these commandments] when you sit at home and when you walk along the road.”(Deut. 6) It just feels chaotic. It feels like I’m in a Christian episode of ‘Outnumbered.’ It’s less funny being a character in this little sitcom than it would be to watch it.
And as I go about my day the questions linger on:
“Was the Miss Hannigan/Mr Warbucks illustration of slavery to sin and Christ heretical?”
“Did I dismiss my son’s questions about death?”
“Does my 5 yr old understand the different between God and Abraham?”
“Did my outburst about PE tops undermine what I’d been saying about living for Jesus?”
All this talk is hard! But life needs to have space in it for these kinds of conversations.
Of course, some people are quieter than others. My family has zero quiet people in it, but I’ve met plenty of other people who don’t feel the need to fill every second with talk! But even the quiet ones need to communicate.
As Christian families, we should be talking to one another. We have such good news to share. If our lives are too scheduled or too full of tech to allow space and time for meandering conversations, then we’ve got something wrong.
Do you watch films together? Perhaps you could talk about what you liked/didn’t like, favourite characters, unexpected plot twists. This is a great habit to get into. For more on this, I’ve enjoyed the Popcorn Parenting podcast with James Cary and Nate Morgan-Locke.
Do you read stories or listen to audiobooks? It’s a great way to fuel the imagination and get them thinking about big, God-centred themes.
Talking with your kids doesn’t sound like an impressive thing to do. It doesn’t give them a measurable skill that will win them a medal. But this is how we share the gospel with each other, encouraging each other and being open and honest about how we think or feel about things.
I have struggled for almost 12 years to have peaceful mealtimes at home, which are conducive to meaningful conversations. I’ve contemplated tattooing the words ‘sit on your seat and use your cutlery’ onto my forehead (or at least carving them into the table). I still struggle with it – massively. But I am gradually starting to see that my children are learning to talk to people.
Recently a visitor came for dinner, during which my younger son almost laughed himself off his seat whilst telling him a story. Later on the visitor casually mentioned something like, “They’re good a talking to people. That must be because you’ve practised with them.” Well, I didn’t know whether to cry, burst into song or throw my arms around him. Obviously I just smiled and nodded.
Don’t grow weary, friends. It’s often in the chaotic, not-exactly-ideal moments that you’re able to share glorious truths with your kids. And by God’s grace you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.