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To the Busy Parent Who Wants to Disciple Their Kids

Melissa Swain | Aug. 2, 2022

This is the second in a short series of blog posts offering biblical advice and encouragement to parents about discipling their kids. 

If your schedule looks anything like mine, it can make a person uninitiated in the realm of color-coded calendars dizzy. There’s a color dedicated to this kid, a color dedicated to that kid. One for work stuff, one for family stuff, and even the dogs have their own special color on the calendar. Ok, so the dogs don’t have a lot of appointments, but once you go down that color-coding rabbit hole, you just can’t leave them out. Or maybe you’re more of a non-calendar person and sticky notes are your thing. Whatever your method is, if you have kids, you’re probably busier than you want to be.

What is it that takes us from the sweetness of rocking a newborn with nowhere else to be to running around town between activities and hoping we have time to get a decent meal in our kids before and after sports practices, rehearsals, lessons, or whatever fills our precious few hours between the end of the school day and bedtime? There are many reasons. Whatever they are, we can all identify with being busy. We need quick solutions to big problems, and our own impatience can cause us to take shortcuts when we should really be taking the scenic route. 

Build Legacy, Avoid Regret

Each decision we make, each opportunity we embrace or decline, results in the legacy we build. I’m not saying we can completely avoid regret, because we are all sinners and there are no perfect parents, but we can certainly curb or reduce regret if we choose to take every opportunity we have with our kids. Do you know what the opposite of regret is? It’s fulfillment and satisfaction that you did what you should have done. We defeat regret when we say yes every single day to what we know we must do. Even when we are busy. Even when there are big pressing issues that derail our plans.

Choosing to be intentional with our children is not the easy way, but it is so worthwhile.

I can probably guess what you’re thinking about now. “Yes, but you don’t know what our life is like.” “How am I supposed to build a legacy when I can barely keep my kid in clean socks?” “How do I seize opportunities with my kid when I feel like a glorified Uber-driver?” “I have a job too, you know. How am I supposed to fit one more thing into the schedule?"

Lean in closely and I’ll share a secret with you: intentional time. That’s it. The beauty of spending intentional time with our kids is that it’s not a checklist, it’s not necessarily another appointment on the calendar (although if you’d like to put it on your calendar, you can), and it’s not something that will drain the life from you. In fact, it’s life-giving for you and your kids. It’s a clear concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It could begin with something as simple as dinner and purposeful conversation

Jesus’ Model: Intentional Time

Choosing to be intentional with our children is not the easy way, but it is so worthwhile. It is the way to significant impact and Christ-centered influence. As parents, we make the most difference in our children’s lives by giving them the greatest treasure we have: time. But we must choose to spend this currency rather than store it up and save it for “someday.” That’s how Jesus did it. He spent intentional time with his disciples, investing in them on a regular, ongoing basis. Pause for a second and let’s look at that again. Jesus, the only perfect man to ever walk the earth, the guy who created discipleship, didn’t tap his disciples on the shoulder and impart holy wisdom and knowledge in them. He could’ve. I mean, if he can use dirt and spit to heal a blind man (John 9:1-7), think of what he could do with a tap on the shoulder. Instead, he intentionally engaged with the disciples and patiently taught them everything they needed to know. If that’s good enough for Jesus, it’s certainly good enough for us. The awesome thing is that we, too, are capable of spending intentional time with our children. And we can do so with the opportunities we already have.

For help developing a custom-fit method of discipling kids in your season of parenting, read Write It On Their Hearts by Chris and Melissa Swain. This article is based on ideas from the book, which offers practical help and advice for Christian parents on how to be intentional with their time to lead their children to Jesus.

Melissa Swain

Melissa Swain spent nearly 23 years as a pastor’s wife and is a mom, homeschool teacher, writer, and editor. Chris and Melissa lived all over the South serving in various ministries, but she now calls Hendersonville, Tennessee, home along with her two children and the family dogs.

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