Some Thoughts on Parenting and Discipleship
The older my sons get, the more weaknesses I see in my parenting. I can’t remember a day in the last decade I have not had to ask forgiveness from one or more of them. They are very gracious to extend forgiveness to their sin-infested Dad.
On the positive side, I’m seeing some traction and progress in our discipleship. I was meeting with a group recently who were asking me what I do with the boys in discipleship. I thought the answer to that question might provide some ideas for some to build on, so I am going to give a brief outline of some of the things we are doing. But this post is not so much a declaration as an invitation. If you have ideas and experiences in discipleship, please add them in the comments section below and we can all profit.
- I take each of the boys out for breakfast before school once a week. This is as simple as a muffin at Starbucks or an earlier morning at IHOP. I’m going through different things with each of them. They are in very different places in spiritual understanding because of their ages. We have read books together, gone over chapters of the Bible that address what they are working through in life, and sometimes we just talk about sports, hunting, or play hangman (that was this morning with my 5th grader). I try to end with a verse I’ve isolated for them that we simply read and pray through.
- We try to talk about the biblical instruction they are receiving at church. Driving home from church on Sundays includes a debriefing of what they learned in their youth ministry groups and the regular service sermon. The same happens on Wednesday and after their discipleship meetings with leaders. Kim and I try to create and follow as many rabbit trails as we can to see what is at the end of their thinking.
- Dinner times are great because they are magnetized to the table by their appetites. It’s fun to throw out a topic and see what they think. I’m not so interested in using this time for instruction as I am to simply see what and how they think.
- Then there is “Monday Man School.” On Monday nights we try to get together to talk through issues of masculinity. This can include things like how to tie a tie (or better tie one), how to iron a shirt, how to skin and cook a rabbit, how to treat a lady (this an ongoing lesson), what to do when you get embarrassed in front of others, how to admit your wrong and why that’s important, how to match clothes, how to shave (better), and sometimes we just watch a football or basketball game together. Kim is a part sometimes, but this also gives her an escape from her world of boys for a night if she wants to go out for coffee with a friend, or get some alone time.
- An important footnote is that there are always interruptions and exceptions to these activities. We rarely have a perfect week where everything happens, but we’re trying to make those the exceptions rather than the norm.
Then there are always the informal discussions that come up when you have kids. You can never let the antenna down and look for opportunities to speak into their worldview to encourage or correct it.
So what are you doing to disciple your kids? Or, what have you experienced in your discipleship relationships that has borne fruit? I hope this thread can help us all, whether or not we are parents.