I prayed for you today, though I didn’t know your name,
I saw a hurting look, so I had to stop and pray.
I prayed for you today, when I saw you on the street,
Playing on your trumpet, for everyone you meet.
That is the first verse of a song I wrote that we sang together as a family during family worship and in the van driving (especially on trips). It was our empathy song—the song that reminded us to try to put ourselves in others’ shoes and understand how they are feeling.
Fire trucks with sirens blazing. Ambulances whizzing by. Woo-woos (police cars) racing ahead.
When our kids are really little, of course, it was a thrill to hear them say “woo woo” when a police car passed us or “fire truck” when they saw a fire truck.
New words. Attaching meaning. Community workers…oh, I loved having littles.
But as our kids grew up, we attached another important concept to emergency vehicles: someone was hurting somewhere and needed prayer.
WHEN YOU “SIT” IN YOUR HOUSE—PREFERABLY IN A TECHNO-FREE ZONE
Out of all of the times/places that we are told to teach our children diligently in Deuteronomy, “when you sit in your house” has got to be the most challenging. Over twenty-five years ago, Gregg Harris gave us the greatest advice in his parenting seminar (that we have used weekly and teach others to do the same): Whatever is important to you to do with your children should be attached to something that is already in the schedule. Thus, we attached reading together to rising/going to bed; we attach family prayer to meals; etc. However, finding time to “sit in your house” is another matter—and one that I would like to address as a talk time in this blog post.
In the last “talking” post, I described a time in which talking isn’t needed at all. (You can read that here.) Those times are not all that frequently, however, since usually our kids have wanted our input, advice, and help. (And if they didn’t want it, they probably really needed it, so it was up to us to find a way to make it happen.)
To balance that “just listen” vs. “give too much input,” we came up with a solution that has become a popular buzzword in our home.
Summer schedules. Those two words do not seem to go together to most kids (and even many parents!). And yet, I want to propose a plan whereby summer can still be somewhat carefree. (After all, that’s what most people love about summer.) Yet, our children can all still be engaged in learning, developing disciplines for their lives, building relationships and memories, and more.