The start of the school year… It’s full of excitement, relief, AND frustration.

It’s exciting that our kids are moving forward with their next grade (or in some cases a whole new school). It’s a huge relief that the lack of routine is over! But it can also be frustrating.

Drop-off and pick-up lines. The first day of school is over, so the excitement that jettisoned them out of bed is long gone. Now, we’re all just tired and irritated.

I homeschool my kids, but the feelings are the same. All my high expectations for how the school year is going to go inevitably come crashing down after only a few days.

The problem I run into, and maybe you can relate, is that I WANT to be a loving, gracious, purposeful parent. But more often than not I find myself coming up short. Barking commands all day leaves me feeling terrible once the lights go out at night.

“Things aren’t supposed to be this way. Tomorrow will be better,” I tell myself.

Sometimes they are.
Sometimes… they aren’t.

If you find yourself in that same boat I have some good and some bad news. The bad news is I have no answers. The good news… I know the One who does!

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “HEAR, O ISRAEL: THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. THESE COMMANDMENTS THAT I GIVE YOU TODAY ARE TO BE ON YOUR HEARTS. IMPRESS THEM ON YOUR CHILDREN. TALK ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU SIT AT HOME AND WHEN YOU WALK ALONG THE ROAD, WHEN YOU LIE DOWN AND WHEN YOU GET UP. TIE THEM AS SYMBOLS ON YOUR HANDS AND BIND THEM ON YOUR FOREHEADS. WRITE THEM ON THE DOORFRAMES OF YOUR HOUSES AND ON YOUR GATES.”

It may seem a little weird to look at this passage to figure out how to connect with our kids, but here’s the deal. Connection typically happens over a shared experience. Playing a sport or a video game. Going out to dinner or a movie. Being in a small group at church.

SHARED EXPERIENCES BREED CONNECTION.

What if we prioritizes the activities we enjoy doing together while also engaging in spiritual conversations.

“THESE COMMANDMENTS THAT I GIVE YOU TODAY ARE TO BE ON YOUR HEARTS. IMPRESS THEM ON YOUR CHILDREN. TALK ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU SIT AT HOME AND WHEN YOU WALK ALONG THE ROAD, WHEN YOU LIE DOWN AND WHEN YOU GET UP.”

As parents, we need to lead by example. God’s word needs to be on our hearts before we can expect it to be on our kids’. But we can also learn together. Imagine this…

  1. You have a short devotional that you read together as you’re eating breakfast before school.
  2. You pray together in the drop-off line.
  3. When you’re at football practice you use kind, encouraging (Godly) words towards your kids and their coaches.
  4. At bedtime you chat about the day and figure out ways you can all act more like Jesus in the days ahead.

Imagine the connection that could be made between you and your kids with experiences like that!

It’s not easy to get something like this started. It feels a little weird and clunky at first. But just like working out, our spiritual muscles get stronger over time. You can do it. We believe in you ūü§ć

Because there’s a better way,
Trent + Sarah

BONUS TIP:

When each of our kids turned four we started prioritizing one-on-one time with them. For us it happens on First Fridays, and we each take one of our kids out to a simple breakfast (donuts or pancakes) and it’s been incredible. We love spending time as a whole family, but that one-on-one time is precious. If you’re feeling disconnected from one (or all) of your kids this may be a great thing to start doing in your family.

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