Some approach Christian parenting like a game of Tetris. It’s an enormous struggle to get all the pieces of our kids’ schedules into place. Life is happening quickly. Figuring out how to fit sleep, practice, homework, activities, tutoring, classes, games, concerts and rehearsals into the 168 hours of a kid’s schedules requires nothing less than a P.h.D. in planning.
When will you find time to talk with your child about dealing with anxiety through prayer? Is there a free moment to talk about the values of friendship? Could you even squeeze in a moment to read the Bible with your kids, grandkids or those you are mentoring?
In Tetris, when we can’t figure out how to fit certain blocks, we push them to the side. It might often feel like teaching our kids Christianity simply doesn’t fit. But we need to stop approaching parenting like a game of Tetris. Instead, approach mentoring like you’re playing a game of blocks with an 18-month old.
When I play blocks with our foster daughter, my role is to hand her the blocks, and then she puts them in her bucket. She isn’t yet interested in actually building anything. But I just keep handing her blocks nonetheless. My job is very simple. Just hand her the blocks.
In Deuteronomy 6, God’s model for teaching Christianity to children involves handing kids the building blocks of the at the hinge moments of each day: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
The model for parenting and mentoring is to leverage those small moments by speaking with great intentionality. Don’t feel the pressure to hit homeruns in every conversation with your kids. Give simple, Gospel-centered encouragement, advice, understanding and correction on the ride to school, at the dinner table, before bed or after a game. Just keep handing them the building blocks of the Christian worldview.
But here is the catch…
God’s model assumes that when you share with them, you speak from personal experience and your own faith convictions. In Deuteronomy 6:4, Israel affirms, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Do you know Jesus? Do you confess your sins and receive his forgiveness? Do you talk to him in prayer? Do you relate to him like the only authority in a world filled with idols?
In Deuteronomy 5 and 6, God reminds Israel of his identity as their deliverer.
Is Jesus your deliverer?
If you are living in relationship with Jesus, I think you will find that it’s actually pretty easy to talk about what you love with those whom you love. Start sharing the faith with your kids, grandkids and the youth you mentor. Hand them one one block at a time.