I was invited to speak at a church in Hot Springs, Arkansas a few weeks ago. I was excited because I wanted to see my friend and encourage him, his wife, and his church family as much as possible. My excitement grew even greater when I discovered my invite included a little time to hunt the elusive Arkansas whitetail deer.
I wanted to make this trip as memorable as possible so I brought along my two sons and my son-in-law so that we could spend some time in the woods doing man things.
If you’re wondering, we didn’t get anything, but we did have a fantastic time. We goofed off while walking down old logging roads, set up deer blinds, dressed in camo, learned how to track, chased deer when we saw them, ate pop-tarts, and some got a little spooked when they stayed in their hunting blinds well after dark. It was a beautiful time I will never forget, and I hope it will be the first of many like it.
If you have kids any age, you’re probably shocked at how fast they grow up. And if you’re an empty nester, you’re shaking your head, asking yourself how it all went by so fast. Am I right?
Since time passes by so quickly, how can parents make the most of their time with their kids?
Here are two quick tips on how to do that.
Make the most of every opportunity.
I could easily have gone on this trip by myself. It could have been an “all business” ministry trip. But I think life’s too short to be just all about business, especially if you have kids.
The Bible tells you to “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Let’s be honest. The days are undoubtedly evil. That’s why it’s so crucial you become a positive and godly influence for your kids as much as possible.
I’m not saying you need to do extravagant things to win your kid’s love. That never works. But I am saying you need to look for opportunities to be with your children for fun and influence. If you do, that time will strengthen your relationship with them.
Let them see and hear you follow Jesus.
My wife Laura and I have never been the kind of parents who forced our kids to have spiritual disciplines like praying and reading their Bibles. Instead, we took more of a modeling approach and looked for opportunities to speak into their lives and lived by example.
For instance, when I was on this trip to Arkansas with my boys, we prayed every morning before we hunted and asked God to keep us safe and bless our trip. On our last day in the woods, knowing that we didn’t get a deer, we stopped and thanked God for letting us get the opportunity to go and for keeping us safe.
My boys even got to see another church, heard them worship, watched me serve another pastor, and encouraged their people. It even stirred up some good conversation with them about how God uses churches of all shapes and sizes. It was awesome.
You can do it too. If you look, there are probably some simple opportunities where your kids can hear and watch you follow Jesus. There will be no better time spent, and best of all, it won’t feel forced.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
You are the light of Jesus to your kids. Let them hear and see you follow Jesus. It’s less preachy and more effective.