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40 vs 3,000

40 vs 3000… that’s the number of hours a year the church has to teach kids about Jesus vs the number of hours a year a parent can.  This sobering statistic was shared with me recently at a conference. I didn’t get depressed about it because I think our church is a statistic buster!!  I am also confident that our team is committed to making those 40 hours the best they can be. But it just reminded me about the fact that we as ministers are limited in our impact.  I have seen other surveys that say that parents are still the most important influences in a kid’s life.  Since I am currently living with two teenagers, that statistic doesn’t always seem a reality as they roll their eyes at me.  But thinking back upon my teenage years and the impact my parents had on me, I have to believe it’s true.

Discipling my kids feels a lot like trying to lose weight.  My natural tendency is to ignore the issue and say I’ll get to it later, and later never comes.   I learned a long time ago that what works best for me is to schedule it. I also know that if I get partners to help me out I am more effective. With this in mind, I have intentionally become strategic with the training of my kids.  I have started two separate clubs that meet the needs of my individual kids.

My son is an avid reader.  I decided to start a mother son book club.  Five moms and their sons meet at the beginning of the year and we bring different book suggestions.  We discuss them and then vote on which ones we are going to read.  We will then meet monthly at Barnes and Noble to discuss one of the books.  They have been all kinds of genres but what amazes me is that with each book we can still have spiritual conversations.  We treat each kid as an equal contributor to the discussion.  I have noticed that my son values the time I spend getting into his world.

As for my daughter, she is more about friends and doing girly things.  We have a club where we meet once a month with 3 other moms and their daughters and do an activity.  We might go to a pottery place, nail salon or play. After each activity, we always have a devotional. We talk about our value to God, mean girls, or any character issue we see needs to be addressed.  We even have a charm bracelet that we have added to throughout the years that mark meaningful times.

I hope that when my kids look back on their childhood they will see that I really put an effort into building a relationship with them and intentionally discipling them. I know that there are plenty of other opportunities during the month as I drive my kids or as we sit around the dinner table.  But it seems like those moments don’t stand out as much and I just hope that our clubs become some of the greatest memories of their childhood.

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