As soon as I walk through the door, they’re there. Usually, the four-year old first, followed closely by our two-year old. Some days the six-year old comes and every now and then our eight-year old. They jump (yes, jump!) into my arms and ooze their love onto me…and also their needs.
Until I became a Dad, I’d never been so important to anyone. And in just eight years, there are four who look to me and crave my undivided attention. As I hug their little bodies my heart is filled with both an amazing feeling of love and the heavy weight of responsibility. Are they getting enough attention from me? Am I being the Dad I want them to have?
Parenting, like disciple making, isn’t for the faint of heart. Both are thankless endeavors of utmost importance. To do them well, both require deep love, sharp focus, intentionality, creativity, and faith. In both contexts, we partner with the Spirit and compete with an ungodly culture to mold someone into the image of Christ. Neither comes with an instruction manual nor can they be accomplished in a programmatic way. And unfortunately, in both we struggle, at times, to align our own words and actions.
Whether it’s parenting or disciple making, tools and tactics make us better.
One tool Kristen and I have developed is the kids’ quote of the month. Here’s how it works, each month Kristen and I select a quote to print out and post on the wall of our kids’ bedrooms. It’s just one quotation. Sometimes the quote comes from the Bible, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it comes from a disciple of Jesus, sometimes it doesn’t. Every month we prayerfully find one that we believe will speak truth into our children’s lives. A truth they need now. We don’t make a big deal of it, each month we quietly take the old one down and put the new one up. One month I pick, the next month my wife does.
We’ve done this for about a year now and each month our kids are excited to see the new quote. We post it while they’re asleep or at school and carry on with living. Recently, something amazing has happened, each month they memorize the quote...on their own. To be honest, every time they do, I feel like we’ve slipped some medicine into their food. With very little effort, we’ve slipped a truth into them. And you know what, this is a piece of what disciple making looks like in our house. We're still on mission together, asking them three disciple-making questions, as well as reading Scripture and praying together, but we're also looking for other small, quiet ways to consistently slip truth into their lives. The fact is, no matter how hard I try I won’t be able to meet all their needs, only Jesus can do that. But I can disciple them to the best of my ability by focusing on the fundamentals. My wife and I realize that disciple making begins at home, with us, in us, and then into the lives of those closest to us.
One last thing about our quote of the month project. We’re collecting each quote we use and someday, when they move out, we’ll give them the whole list. Each drop connected to another to form a refreshing drink to encourage and focus them during difficult times.
What tools and tactics are you using to disciple your kids? How are you slipping truth into their lives?