Mom’s Diligence Can Pave the Way for Dad’s Family Devotions

 I heard someone mention on a radio show recently that when dads decide to start doing family devotions, the kids are all over the place, not listening, not interested, and it’s a total disaster—and dad never tries it again, or he waits a long time.  But here’s how our family inadvertently—actually, no—by God’s grace, avoided this pitfall . . .

When my first child was born, my sister gave me a great book call “Creative Family Times” by Allen Hadidian and Will Wilson.  One of the suggestions of the authors was to train your child at a young age to be able to sit and look at a book—called “sit time.”  So this was when we did what I called “Bible Time.”  When my oldest was about nine months old (you don’t have to start that early, but I had time!), I would put him in his little living-room-chair and put a children’s Bible book in his lap.  We would look at the pictures together, but silently, until the timer beeped (about 30 seconds later, at first), then close the book and put it away.  That was it.  I gradually increased the time, started looking at my own Bible (while he looked at his), then had him sit on the couch next to me.  It was very important that we be quiet, though, because–what use is “sit time” or “quiet time” if you’re constantly interrupted? 

You might be wondering, How can you do “Bible Time” with no talking?  Your child is not learning anything!  Well, here’s where dad’s family devotions come in.  First, I was training my child to sit still simply because his parent wanted him to, not just because he was interested.  Second, his being able to sit still made it possible for me to do a read-aloud “Bible Time” at a different time during the day (or right after, as a reward), which paved the way for family devotions. 

So years later, my husband did not have to come up with entertaining devotions because his children already knew how to sit still—a valuable skill!  And they did not just learn how to sit still; they learned how to enjoy “reading” quietly, as well as interacting with an adult during discussion time.  To this day, when one of us says, “Bible Time!” everyone gathers in the living room and knows what to expect—and doesn’t complain.  What a blessing!  So moms, don’t feel like all is lost if your husband has not taken this leadership role yet.  Maybe he’s waiting until he feels like it will be successful!  (But you’re not nagging, right?  It won’t help!)

Note:  If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late.  Kids can do anything for a few minutes!  Just start by setting the timer for five minutes, or for their age (or less) if they’re younger.  (Skittles might come in handy, too, if your kids are resistant at first!)

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Let me be a witness that this has been very helpful to me as a dad. I’m very thankful.

    Reply

  2. And what wonderful memories your kids will have of those special quiet times! Thanks for the encouragement…

    Reply

  3. Posted by Shepherd's Cottage Farm on May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Love that book! “Sit Time” works as training for church as well. Thanks for the reminder to be proactive in training my kids!

    Reply

  4. […] you could have to make picnics with a one-year-old even a possibility.  And if you taught them sit time, you’ll have it […]

    Reply

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