Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Old Habit, Revisited

A year ago, I wrote the following post.

"This year I am resolved to establish a daily time for my kids to read the Bible. My oldest is almost old enough to actually sit and READ his Bible, my middle is old enough to sit still with a Bible in his hands to flip through, and my youngest is old enough to disrupt the whole affair. Oh, and did I mention me? I am WAY TOO OLD to still be needing to "establish" something. What a pity, but true. With the addition of every child, the re-establishment must occur for me. The advice I have received from "Older-Wisers" has always been to do it before the kids get up. That has been a constant source of defeat for me. I hope I come up with something ELSE to encourage young moms to do. (I imagine you know my morning defeat: the earlier I get up, the earlier my kids arise. Why deprive myself of sleep and still not get a few moments with the Lord?)

Reminder: we are running a marathon, not a sprint. So my first step in the big picture of getting my kids to have a habit of reading their Bible and praying each day (essentially having a childhood "quiet time") is subtle, small, and might seem too miniscule. I am making sure that each day we read one small story in the Bible lasting 28 seconds, or upwards of 5 minutes.

My theory is that if you it every day, you have your kids eventually expecting it. Do it for a short enough time each of those days (leaving them wanting more rather than wishing it were over) and you will create a hunger for more. Then tomorrow's time is a little more enthusiastic (but not longer). And slowly s-l-o-w-l-y you lengthen the time you spend. And they grow up and begin to read for themselves. And..., And..., And...over time you have established a wonderful spiritual discipline. A little sneaky, don't you think?I have a few challenges in this: my kids are really different. I have one who would sit and listen to books for hours on end, and another who might like a simple story but in the end would prefer to wrestle with the book. And I already mentioned my baby (who, by the way is not on a consistent nap schedule where I can count on him being asleep at the same time every day while we read together). Another major challenge: big busy me. Enough said.

But so far (as of the middle of January 2008) we have been successful. Lord, give me perseverance in this!

Any more resolutions out there? Any encouragement? Any other ideas floating around?"

Funny, a year later I am back exactly in the same place I was then (needing to re-establish Bible quiet times), only busier. I have added another child to our mix and my oldest is now in school a full day (no more 1/2 day kindergarten). Our time together is precious - PRECIOUS - and it is very full. When Davis comes home from school we have snack, do homework, they sit and listen to me read a chapter book, and then it is time for me to begin dinner prep and feed the baby, and then its dinner time and clean up time and then Daddy comes home and then its bedtime. Somewhere in there the kids need to play and run off energy, too! The whole day seems to be gone before it starts. So I am discovering that I have this tiny window of time in which to "fit" quiet times during the school year. (How frustrating!)

But it is what it is. If you have kids NOT in school, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE TIME YOU HAVE! Last year our Bible Quiet times lasted 45 minutes. (Oh it was wonderful!) This year, I am hoping to get in 15 minutes. But 15 minutes with the Lord in prayer daily is nothing to be ashamed of!


Brenda said...

Jenne, this is great! I have not been very consistent with Bible time with the kids. We get to it most days of the week, in some format--a Bible story from the Egermeier Bible (sp?) or they listen to something from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John on the dramatized NIV during breakfast (if the day is running a little late), or sometimes we read a Proverb for the day of the month, and we do our handwriting practice 1x per week with Scripture, and like today--we didn't read it at all. :( We did sing a hymn together, and we do that a lot, but it's hard to be consistent with one thing...Ruby is at a hard age right now for reading books. She's been getting so fussy, and I have a lot of homeschool reading to get done in the day....No excuse though. :) I appreciate that I'm not the only one who struggles. And I really appreciate the line about "if your kids are home during the day..." or something like that. Mine are. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Ginger@chirgies said...

Jenne - I'm starting to wonder if this is something we will always wrestle with... and if it's something we will have to be flexible about in the working out of the how and when. But I want it to be priority!! And not a 'fitting in'!!! *sigh*

This morning, by some miracle, we were ready to head out the door 15 minutes early! But the kids were squabbling, and I was trying to finish last minute things - then it was like the light bulb went on - DUH! Quiet Time!!! So the kids got out their Bibles and read quietly for those last few minutes... I'm wondering if maybe we could spare 15 minutes of sleep and get up just that little bit earlier???? hmmmmm........

Christine said...

I love your references to yourself and your past posts. You have such a great voice! I can just hear you in my mind telling me this in person. I love hearing you discuss parenting with me even though your far away :) Keep up the good work!